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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The American Who Accidentally Became A Chinese Movie Star, by Mitch Moxley, New York Times

If the Hollywood studios really want to understand how to succeed in China, Kos-Read’s journey makes for a kind of accidental guide.

A Manifesto Against ‘Parenting’, by Alison Gopnik, Wall Street Journal

People sometimes use “parenting” just to describe what parents actually do, but more often, especially now, “parenting” means something that parents should do. “To parent” is a goal-directed verb; it describes a job, a kind of work. The goal is to somehow turn your child into a better or happier or more successful adult—better than they would be otherwise, or (though we whisper this) better than the children next door. The right kind of “parenting” will produce the right kind of child, who in turn will become the right kind of adult.

The idea that parents can learn special techniques that will make their children turn out better is ubiquitous in middle-class America—so ubiquitous that it might seem obvious. But this prescriptive picture is fundamentally misguided. It’s the wrong way to understand how parents and children actually think and act, and it’s equally wrong as a vision of how they should think and act.

When Will Helen DeWitt Be Recognized As One Of The Great American Novelists?, by Christian Lorentzen, Vulture

Many, many writers are chronically broke. Many have a long list of grievances with the publishing industry. Many will tell you about the circumstances that would have allowed them to enjoy the success of Ernest Hemingway or David Foster Wallace. Many have had multiple brushes with suicide, but there’s only one who wrote The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, two of the finest novels published this century, and she’d recently spilled a glass of iced tea on her MacBook.

The Age Of Bowie By Paul Morley Review – The True Importance Of A Pop Master, by Lynsey Hanley, The Guardian

Anyone could have written a book solely comprising the memories, tributes, odes, affectionate jokes and straightforward obituaries of Bowie that emerged in a rush during that raw January week. Morley says that, instead, he chose to write the only sort of book that he could have written about Bowie: part love letter, part biography, part autobiography, part theoretical framework for life.

Time Catches Up With Us All In 'The Heavenly Table', by Jason Sheehan, NPR

Donald Ray Pollock's newest novel, The Heavenly Table, is a book about time.

It's a book about the Jewett brothers, Cane (the smart one), Cob (the ox) and Chimney (the crazy one), who own two books, a Bible and a dime-store pulp, swollen and falling to pieces, called The Life And Times Of Bloody Bill Bucket, which they use as their guiding light into a life of crime.

Three, Six Or 36: How Many Basic Plots Are There In All Stories Ever Written?, by Alison Flood, The Guardian

Putting – maybe – an end to a debate that has been ongoing for millennia, the researchers found there are “six core trajectories which form the building blocks of complex narratives”.