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  • Recommended reading: Sara Polsky writes for the New Yorker about “The Detective Novel That Convinced a Generation Richard III Wasn’t Evil.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • From Slate comes an answer to the question: “Why did it take so long for The Great Gatsby to be recognized as a masterpiece?” Pair with our own Sonya Chung‘s review of the novel.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Maybe in the future I’ll feel compelled to write that kind of specific and current book, but right now I feel that my strength as a fiction writer is my ability to take a step back. I prefer to create a more metaphorical story that people can apply to a variety of situations, personal and political.” Electric Literature interviews Kazuo Ishiguro about his most recent novel, The Buried Giant, which our own Lydia Kiesling reviewed here.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “How did a humble Canadian publisher—which got its start reprinting other companys’ books—become the name most associated with romance? It’s a long story, involving a peripatetic former fur trader and his opinionated socialite wife, a Procter-and-Gamble-trained Harvard MBA, some jilted Americans and a whole crowd of damned scribbling women.” From Pictorial comes the story of “How Harlequin Became the Most Famous Name in Romance.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Much has been made of the seemingly prophetic nature of Verne’s lunar stories: elements such as the distance and time to reach the moon, and even the launch and landing sites for the mission fall very closely to what actually happened during NASA’s Apollo program.” On the prophetic and historical power of Jules Verne‘s science fiction novels, including the works that later inspired the space program.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • From The Atlantic comes the case for canonizing G.K. Chesterton, the “Catholic convert and an oracular man of letters, a pneumatic cultural presence, an aphorist with the production rate of a pulp novelist.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • We just got a new Dr. Seuss book; now we get a full Dr. Seuss museum, and it’s probably safe to bet it won’t look like just another children’s center.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • From The Rumpus, a new short (short) story by George Saunders, excerpted from Life is Short – Art is Shorter: In Praise of Brevity, with an introduction by David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Recommended reading: The Guardian reports on Varlam Shalamov, a Russian author who spent 17 years in the harsh camps of the Kolyma gulag, wrote more than 140 short stories, and still claimed ““I hate literature. I do not write memoirs; nor do I write short stories. That is, I try to write not a short story but something that would not be literature.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Mr. Walt Whitman has imagined that a certain amount of violent sympathy with the great deeds and sufferings of our soldiers, and of admiration for our national energy, together with a ready command of picturesque language, are sufficient inspiration for a poet. If this were the case, we had been a nation of poets.” A young Henry James reviews Whitman’s Drum Taps.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Some of the best novels out there — Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men — deal largely with fictional friendships. Yet depictions of close friends that are central to the plot are considerably rare in modern novels. At The Guardian, AD Miller notes this isn’t the case for movies and TV shows, and suggests a number of reasons why. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on friendship in the age of Facebook.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith