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Lit Hub Weekly: June 14 – 18, 2021

TODAY: In 1947, Salman Rushdie is born. Benjamin Hedin considers The Lives of Girls and Women, the genre-curious book that “tells us how Alice Munro became Alice Munro.” | Lit Hub Criticism How Edgar Allan Poe’s 1844 balloon hoax launched a “powerful if chaotic machine of publicity, doubt, and belief.” | Lit Hub History Neal Allen (or Mr. Anne...

John Cheever and Djuna Barnes, Patron Literary Saints of Suburbia and Bohemia, Died This Day in 1982.

To say there are “two Americas” immediately calls to mind any number of great sociocultural divides—Black/white, rich/poor, urban/rural—but one of the abiding tensions in this country has long been between civic conformity and individual eccentricity; or, if we are to locate these ideas as places in the American imagination: Suburbia and Bohemia. This...

Here are the best reviewed books of the week.

Jonathan Lee’s The Great Mistake, Kai Bird’s The Outlier, Nathan Harris’ The Sweetness of Water, and Ruth Scurr’s Napoleon all feature among the Best Reviewed Books of the Week. Brought to you by Book Marks, Lit Hub’s “Rotten Tomatoes for books.”   Fiction 1. The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee (Knopf) 4 Rave • 6 Positive • 1 Mixed Read an interview...

7 absent fathers in fiction.

The other day, I sat down to watch What a Girl Wants. In case you were living under a rock in the early 2000s, the film follows a young Amanda Bynes, the daughter of a hippie wedding singer, who dreads watching the ceremonious Father Daughter Dance because she does not know her father. Her father, Colin Firth, is actually British loyalty. After her...

Lit Hub Daily: June 18, 2021

TODAY: In 1982, John Cheever and Djuna Barnes die; both the Suburbs and Bohemia lose their patron saints.    Jennette Gordon-Reed and Elizabeth Hinton talk to Jelani Cobb about their new books, On Juneteenth and America on Fire, and the nation’s ongoing struggle to make sense of protest and rebellion, from emancipation to the murder of George Floyd....

On Juneteenth and the Struggle to Commemorate and Make Sense of Protest and Rebellion

Earlier this year, Annette Gordon-Reed and Elizabeth Hinton spoke with New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb to discuss their new books: Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth and Hinton’s America on Fire. The Essential Kerner Commission Report, edited and introduced by Cobb, is forthcoming next month. Tracing the legacy of racial injustice in the United States...

How the Legacy of Slavery Warps the World for Black Women

The following is from Rebecca Hall’s Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, illustrated by Hugo Martínez.   ____________________________________________________ Excerpt adapted from Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts. Used with the permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2021...

Ten Things Writers Need to Create Convincing Characters

Although characters seem to live in fictional worlds the way people exist in reality, a story’s cast is as artificial as a ballet troupe—a society choreographed to meet an author’s purpose. And what is that purpose? Why do writers do this? Why create human facsimiles? Why not spend our days with friends and family, content in their company? Because...

On the Self-Sustaining Ecosystem and Beauty of Scotland’s Man-Made Bings

Fifteen miles southwest of Edinburgh, a knuckled red fist rises from a soft green landscape: five peaks of rose-gold gravel stand bound together by grass and moss, like a Martian mountain range or earthworks on the grandest of scales. They are spoil heaps. Each peak rises along a sharp ridge from the same point on the ground, fanning outward in geometric...

On the Weaponization of Language in a Traumatized Nation

For many Americans, the Trump presidency gave us a daily dose of depravity we willingly subjected ourselves to in the hopes that our informed outrage would somehow, in the long run, matter. The trivialization, the obscenity, the misogyny, the smug logic of white supremacy, the juvenile character national politics took on throughout this time, the erosion...

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