We link to Roxane Gay a lot… but that’s because she says such interesting stuff! This week, read her editorial on why she’s not going to bother watching a show about an alternate universe where slavery still exists. (Not that it’s the same thing AT ALL but her sentiments seem to be very similar to how I feel about movies with female sex robots.) (via New York Times)
Rebecca West was a brilliant modernist novelist, but she also apparently wrote a travel book about Yugoslavia that has fallen out of the fame it once held. I personally had never heard of it; it’s going on my to-read list after reading this passionate essay by James Thomas Snyder. (via LA Review of Books)
Sigourney Weaver said at Comic-Con that she based her villainous Defenders character on rich Trump supporters she knew in New York. She described these men in great detail, including the delightful quote: “Your objections to what they’re doing because of the planet makes them giggle secretly inside. They’re just like, ‘Oh yes, pish posh.’”
The New Yorker released the first English translation of Italo Calvino’s short story, “Adventure of a Skier.” We loved it, and wished that more New Yorker stories were as weighty yet enjoyable as this one.
The Onion‘s Spider-Man review (via Indiewire) hilariously objectified Tom Holland the way movie critic David Edelstein slobbered over Gal Godot. “Superbabe in the woods” will never be a thing.
Why is Jane Austen so popular? Big Data can give us the answer by analyzing her word choices. (via NYTimes)
Stephen Greenblatt wrote a powerful article for The New Yorker about how Shylock can teach tolerance even while exemplifying anti-Semitism.
Have you read Roxane Gay’s book Hunger yet? If you weren’t already planning on reading it, we dare you to read this adapted excerpt in The Guardian and not put it on your Amazon wish list.
This woman has been slowly eating Infinite Jest for a year. We don’t really know why, but we support it.
If you, like us, are always just a few days behind on The Handmaid’s Tale, you may have missed Variety‘s fun, engaging interview with Elizabeth Moss about the finale.
Or, you might want to check out a pair of what I can only describe as cerebral fanwanks about hair and music in The Handmaid’s Tale at LA Review of Books.
Damon Lindelof might be doing a Watchmen series on HBO! And before you get upset, Zack Snyder he is not. He did wonders with The Leftovers by departing from the source material in meaningful ways.
This is the best tweet about the news, which came out right around the time Lord and Miller dropped out of the Han Solo prequel:
At Book Riot via The Millions, five writers inspired by Octavia Butler, whose birthday was Thursday, write about her influence on them. I happen to be in the middle of Fledgling and I’m loving it, so it’s a timely topic for me!
Do you know about the creepy surrealist Youtube star Poppy? This article about her is fascinating, but what really fascinated me was just watching her “I’m Poppy” video. (via Wired)
After some anxious sponsors backed away from the notorious Trumpian production of Julius Caesar, Alexandra Petri for the Washington Post cheekily identified reasons why pretty much no plays should be acceptable to sponsors. For example, in As You Like It, “Woman wandering in the woods to get away from the current regime is portrayed as some sort of hero.” VERY inappropriate.
Rebecca Solnit argues in Harper’s that the mythical Cassandra is the feminine inverse of The Boy Who Cried Wolf: from Anita Hill to Cosby’s victims to Trump’s accusers and in countless other examples, men can lie over and over again and be believed, while women can tell the truth time and time again and be dismissed.
A poet who wasn’t getting any traction on Instagram conducted a social experiment in which he posted the most banal, non-sensical lines he could think of–and he immediately got thousands and likes and followers, many of whom were not in on the joke.
The New Yorker‘s Doreen St. Felix walks us through Bill Maher’s awkward, graceless apology–and why we probably shouldn’t accept it.
The Huffington Post published a fascinating and somewhat contentious oral history of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, which had its twentieth birthday this week.
“Fuck that guy”, writes a fictional J.K. Rowling, claiming she is not at all sorry she killed Cedric Diggory. “If I had my way, the entire fifth book of the series would have been a long description of what a terrible time Cedric Diggory was having in hell.” (via Above Average)
Guess what ELSE is being adapted on streaming TV these days: Anne of Green Gables! This may be even more exciting than Handmaid’s Tale, although nothing will ever replace Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie in our hearts. The NYT wrote a long feature about how the new adaptation brings out the darker side of Anne’s lonely, maltreated childhood that was always present but subtextual in the books.
Viet Thanh Nguyen writes in the New York Times that writing workshops can be hostile environments to minorities, because they often reinforce established power structures.
At Full Stop, Fran Bigman writes of the importance of female friendships as an act of resistance in The Handmaid’s Tale.
The internet is super excited about Hulu’s new adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (as are we, and not just because Rory is in it, we swear).
We missed this when it first came out a couple weeks ago: Brian Edwards penned a nuanced exploration of Homeland‘s attempts this season to interrogate and perhaps undo the Orientalism it hath already wrought, and the “double bind” it faces by still needing to play on our suspense and anxieties. Very worth reading. (at the LA Review of Books)
The SCP Foundation just wrapped its contest for writing SCP-3000. If you haven’t come across the Foundation before in your Internet itinerations, you can think of it as a collaboratively-written X-Files—the contest is a particularly interesting way to see how something like that comes together.
Previously.tv summarizes season 1 of ER in one headline per episode. There are many gems, but my favorite is “Oh My God We Get It Jen And Mark Like To Fuck (Not That The Interminable “Ma Benton Needs To Go In A Home” Arc That Starts Here Is Much Of An Improvement).”
“Men Recommend David Foster Wallace To Me” (its title clearly a nod to Rebecca Solnit’s seminal “Men Explain Things to Me“) speaks what is in all of our hearts. At twenty-three, I thought I was the only woman to have figured out that you NEVER go on an OKcupid date with a guy who mentions David Foster Wallace in his profile. As it turns out, every literarily-inclined woman discovers this sooner or later. Janes and I call it “Bernie syndrome”: the thing itself may be great, but its fans SUUUUCK. (via Electric Literature)
“Sylvia Plath: just because she wrote about her life doesn’t mean it’s public property.” An examination of literary scholars’ performance of ownership in the wake of those newly surfaced Plath letters. (Via The Conversation)
Who would be in YOUR Jane Jacobs biopic fantasy cast? What, never thought about it? Uh, leave our blog right now. JK. Kind of. (via Curbed)
The Atlantic enumerated the failures of the Girls finale, and we agree with 80% of it. (Review to come)
[HOMELAND SPOILERS] Rupert Friend agrees with us that Quinn’s suffering had started to feel sadistic and that this was the right time for The Thing That Happened to happen. He also essentially says the exact same thing I’ve been arguing all along about Quinn: “He takes responsibility and has a moral code. And I’m not sure that Carrie does.” (via EW — and 17 bajillion bonus points to Rupert, by the way, for graciously but firmly correcting EW when they referred to an adult sexually abusing a child as a “sexual relationship.”)
Female authors took to Twitter this week to tell us #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. This one is our favorite:
Netflix has been so busy tugging at my damn heartstrings… first it resurrects Gilmore Girls and now there’s this absolutely lovely trailer for their new Anne of Green Gables adaptation!!! (Yes, the three exclamation points are absolutely deserved. If I were Emily of New Moon there would be italics, too.)
I recently read George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, and woke up the very next day to find The Millions had published an amazing parody: Trump in the Bardo. (For those not familiar with the concept, Saunders’ novel consists mostly of dialogues among the ghosts living in the graveyard where Lincoln is visiting his dead son.)
The New York Times reports that bookstores are instrumental in galvanizing people to direct political action.
At a bookshop in Massachusetts, a manager privately asked his senior staff members how the store should respond to the Trump presidency.
“Go hard,” they told him.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
An amazing human on the internet wrote a hilarious in-depth study of the art collection of Mike and Carol Brady (at wearethemutants.com, found via Longreads). Favorite excerpt: “The wall space in the office vestibule suffered three different paintings in five years. This had a disorienting effect on the kids and may explain why Greg once abducted a goat.”
Margaret Atwood, whose Handmaid’s Tale is going to be on Hulu soon, penned an essay about the book’s sudden relevance to the events of today (via NYTimes).
Vulture writes of The Good Fight‘s strange dualities and inner contradictions. The article is full of clever and unexpected insights. The one thing I think they miss is the duality of the white privilege on the show–the white characters are forced to confront their privilege, yet they are only front-and-center on this show because of an inherently conservative TV structure where known quantities (more likely to be white) get top billing.
We can never resist a good long article on Rebecca Solnit, feminist hero, and inventor of mansplaining. (via Elle)
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OK, now get ready to die of cuteness… Vulture has a detailed history of the best friendship of Busy Phillips and Michelle Williams, formerly of Dawson’s, who also went to the Oscars together last week and HELD HANDS (picture via Yahoo):
The Millions has a fun list of genre fiction to check out if you have enjoyed literary/genre crossovers like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell or Never Let Me Go. A lot of the suggestions sound great!
We are so psyched for the Beauty and the Beast movie. Disney has promised an “exclusively gay moment,” and a writer from Vulture dove in and analyzed how exclusively gay this moment actually is (answer: not very. I know I’m shocked). Worth reading just for the hilariously inappropriate closing line.
Feel like reading a little light Foucauldian analysis of Lena Dunham’s thighs? Come on, I know you do. Head to the LA Review of Books.