Lit Hub Weekly: February 5 – 9, 2024

TODAY: In 1890, Boris Pasternak, author of the novel Doctor Zhivago and winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature, is born. 

  • “Today, Stein’s legacy lay more with her persona than it does with her actual work.” Remembering Gertrude Stein as a subversive queer poet on her 150th birthday. | Lit Hub Criticism
  • “For its very lack of militancy, Ladies has to be one of the most unusual, most hopeful, and funniest novels to come out of the Civil Rights era.” Erik Wood considers the writing of his uncle, Henry Van Dyke. | Lit Hub Biography 
  • “I kept receiving the same feedback: that the novel was good, but it was such a shame that I had written it in a way that was so specific to New Zealand.” On the dominance of American culture in book publishing.  | Lit Hub Craft
  • How Stanley Kubrick made one of the most memorable horror films in the canon by translating Stephen King’s The Shining from page to screen. | Lit Hub Film
  • Book banners in Florida are finally standing up to goblin butts. | The New Republic
  • The Argylle book conspiracy, explained. | Vox
  • “The way it uses language is absolutely vital to its job of sweeping up passions, not at the expense of analytical rigor, but imbricated with it.” China Miéville on the enduring power of The Communist Manifesto. | Jacobin
  • “His legacy leaves evidence of the continual Indigenous presence and imagination that defines America.” Joy Harjo remembers N. Scott Momaday. | The Washington Post
  • “The crimes of colonialism have contributed to climate collapse. Care, these writers suggest, is the cure.” Emily Raboteau on care, motherhood, a new environmental canon. | The New York Review of Books
  • “The evil of anti-blackness is so unnatural, so monstrous, that it seems to come from outside the boundaries of the world of space we know; it goes against the sense of everyday life.” Nicholas Whittaker on Lovecraft, Atlantics, and black horror. | The Point
  • Christopher Priest, author of numerous works including The Prestige, has died at age 80. | The Guardian
  • “Despite his copious output over four decades, he was regarded in his New York Times obituary as ‘chronically underrated.’” Gene Seymour reflects on the legacy of John A. Williams. | Bookforum
  • On the life and death of Pablo Neruda and the challenges of recontextualizing an icon. | The New Yorker
  • “What if Turing’s hypothetical thinking machine had been a poet instead of a gamer? Maybe the more pressing question is, Why couldn’t it be both?” On poetics and pixels. | Public Books
  • How a beloved community bookstore rose from literal ashes in New York’s Chinatown. | Publishers Weekly
  • Stonewall Book Award winner, actress, and transgender activist Cecilia Gentili has died. | Them
  • Grace Byron wonders: “Why are so many trans novels written in the present tense?” | The Baffler
  • “I now regret that so much of my reading took place during my late adolescence, long before I had any adult experience of the world.” A reflection from the late J.G. Ballard on his favorite books. | MIT Press Reader
  • Bernardine Evaristo defends the Royal Society of Literature against “claims that older members are being sidelined, that the quality of its fellows has declined, and that it is curbing freedom of speech.” | The Guardian

Also on Lit Hub:

Kirsty Gunn on novelist Rosalind Belben’s unappealing appeal • Looking for an otherworldly adventure? These are February’s best sci-fi and fantasy books • New poetry collections • On the origins and repercussions of the current humanitarian crisis at the southern U.S. border • Margot Livesey considers hereditary supernatural gifts • On the origins and development of the bestiary and its role in the medieval imagination • An alphabetical prose experiment by Sheila Heti • February’s new poetry collections24 new books • On the role humans play in animal extinction • Karen Outen on killing characters • Considering Mark Rothko’s artistic practice • Andrew Ewell examines Sophie’s Choice Rebecca Boyle on space dust and awe • Have corporate stakeholders managed to control the spread of content online? • Bianca Bosker on understanding art from the painter’s perspective translating Stephen King’s The Shining from page to screen • The collaboration of Man Ray and Kiki de Montparnasse • On the symbiotic relationship between literature and physics • Caitlin Cowan on the joys of working with young writers •  Cynthia Marie Hoffman on poetry and OCD

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