Lit Hub Weekly: September 5-8, 2023

  • Yiyun Li muses on class, money, joy, and luxury—for writers and their characters. | Lit Hub Memoir

  • “The more closely one scrutinizes The Lord of the Rings, the more extraordinarily metafictional it appears.” Nick Groom wonders, is Tolkien’s mediaevalist fantasy really a work of modernism? | Lit Hub Criticism

  • 25 new novels we think you should read this fall. | Lit Hub Reading Lists

  • “I’m just a numbnuts kid who loves to read.” James Ellroy reveals the real reason he writes. | Lit Hub Memoir

  • Zadie Smith’s The Fraud, Stephen King’s Holly, and Maria Bamford’s Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult all feature among the Best Reviewed Books of the Week. | Book Marks

  • The Bell Jar’s achievement, in turn, was to paint a portrait of America full of jagged inconsistencies.” Rafaela Bassili on reading Plath to understand American culture. | The Atlantic

  • A letter from Ernest Hemingway to his lawyer, detailing his injuries from two plane crashes in as many days, has sold at auction for $237,055. | NPR

  • “It is in part the directness and mercilessness of her texts that have made her controversial.” Gunnhild Øyehaug on Sharon Olds. | The Paris Review

  • Hannah Carlson considers “the once-vulgar hands-in-pockets stance” and the social evolution of hand placement. | Guernica

  • “If he was no longer in backpacks, he was still on library desks and bedside tables. And his example has endured.” Leo Robson’s reflections on Milan Kundera. | New Left Review

  • Republican lawmakers are demanding that their states’ libraries withdraw from the American Library Association as the organization vocally opposes book bans (and, you know, supports libraries). | AP

  • “If I really do encounter an ethical other in The Fraud, it is Smith herself.” Andrea Long Chu on Zadie Smith’s career and newest novel. | Vulture

  • Take a look back at Hop on Pop—which turns 60 this year—a book that “changed the way kids read forever.” | Fatherly

  • Merve Emre on the function of criticism: “In wit begins criticism, but there is nothing sneering or pushy or pretentious or doctrinaire about it.” | Vinduet

  • True tales of terror: Apparently, Stephen King’s wife threatened to divorce him because he played “Mambo No. 5” so many times. | Consequence of Sound

  • Sleuths have wondered for years who designed a cover for Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in TimeThe mystery has finally been solved. | New York Times

  • “Imagine, say, a round, full-sized cheesecake.” Read a new (very) short story from Haruki Murakami. | The New Yorker

  • Elif Batuman searches for a half-remembered Proust quote, with the assistance of AI. | The Guardian

  • The trouble with the “favor economy”: Sophie Vershbow dives into the broken book blurbing system. | Esquire

  • “The place had no epicureal ambitions. It had no politics. There were few facts available online, and you didn’t receive an address until the night before.” Kathleen Alcott visits Stoned Pizza. | The Baffler

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