As a lead up to the New Yorker’s much awaited annual fiction issue, the magazine asks their writers what they’re reading this summer. It’s a predictably mixed bag.
Naomi Fry writers about Lillian Ross’s 1952 Picture, “now happily reissued by the New York Review of Books Classics imprint, is an immensely enjoyable work about the immensely unenjoyable process of making a Hollywood movie. In the book’s five chapters—first published, in this magazine, as a series of long-form articles—Ross writes, with great subtlety and humor, about the production of John Huston’s The Red Badge of Courage, based on Stephen Crane’s Civil War novel.”
Masha Gessen write’s about Rachel Louise Snyder’s No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us. “So she has written a book about everything,” Gessen tells us, “about men who beat and kill their wives or girlfriends; about people who work to predict murder, and those who try to heal the abusers; and also, deeply, about gender, poverty, depression, despair, privilege, law enforcement, incarceration, justice, mental health, and politics in an age when a known abuser of women occupies the White House and an alleged abuser has recently joined the Supreme Court.”
For something completely different, try Nathan Heller’s recommendation, Sally Rooney’s Normal People, which Heller writes is “almost classical in its conceit: Marianne, a rich girl, and Connell, the son of her family’s housecleaner, begin dating in high school (secretly—by his preference, not hers) and follow each other to college, coming apart and together for years as the polarity of their relationship changes. The magic of the story is in Rooney’s writing, which is taut and exacting in emotional description but also low-key, pruned of fussy punctuation, and fluid, like an ice cube losing its hard edges as it melts.”
Nikil Saval writers about Giants of the Monsoon Forest by Jacob Shell; Troy Patterson recommends Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Katy Waldman shares Loudermilk by Lucy Ives, and more. The article is a rich and generous read.
All of this gets us ready for the fiction issue, datelined today with a wonderful cover (Seen above) by Bruce Eric Kaplan describing the classic TBR dilemma. The issue also includes an article on “How Dr. Seuss Changed Education in America.” (A taste: “the Cat in the Hat and Sam-I-Am have taught generations of children to read, but the likes of the Grinch and the Lorax have guided their thinking and feeling.”)
There’s also a look back at George Orwell’s 1984, just as the book turns 70 and an examination of the HBO series Chernobyl, describing what the series got wrong and what it got right. And, of course, there is fiction. Sit back and enjoy.
You can find the New Yorker here.