- Extending a comment of hers I mentioned last week into an article for Salon, ZZ Packer argues that Democrats have to take evangelicals — particularly Democratic, African American evangelicals — seriously.
- Have sex scenes in novels become such a joke that there should be a prize for good ones? I get a kick out of imagining how James Wood would react to this suggestion.
- Speaking of sex scenes, Stephen Elliott reviews Heather Lewis’ Notice in the latest (print) issue of The Believer, and calls it a gorgeous, sad book:
filled with sex, most of it just barely consensual. And when I started I wondered if there wasn’t maybe too much sex. I wondered if I was reading erotica or literature. But there wasn’t too much sex. And it’s never gratuitous. It’s graphic, but not without reason, and you always know that really what you’re reading about is something else, something very human and something that maybe sits inside a lot of us.
- Scott Veale includes works by Junot Diaz, Oscar Hijuelos, Esmerelda Santiago, Chang-rae Lee, and Mia Yun in a brief article about modern-day New York “immigrant classics.”
- From John Edwards’ Senate farewell speech: “And in the end I think of North Carolina’s own, Thomas Wolfe. He wrote, ‘I believe that we are lost here in America, but I believe we shall be found.'”
- NPR’s Hidden Kitchens uncovers old audio files and writings from America Eats, one of the 1930’s New Deal projects for writers. Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Nelson Algren and hundreds more participating writers visited kitchens record what people were eating around the country, and what they called their food. (Fried chicken, then, was called “the gospel bird.”) Hurston — who once said, “I’ve been to sorrow’s kitchen and licked out every pot” — visited a turpentine camp in Florida for a fisherman’s breakfast. Her voice shows up briefly on the Morning Edition segment.