Gertrude Stein’s Children’s Book, Changing Euphemisms, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

In 1938, Gertrude Stein wrote the children’s book The World Is Round, which writer Adrienne Raphel calls “not so much primer as prism, a here and now of the imagination.” (Slate)

Publishers Weekly looks at why the continued popularity of book clubs is important for the sustainability of independent bookstores.

Meanwhile, Suzy Staubach, former manager of the UConn Co-op—the University of Connecticut’s independent bookstore—discusses the trends in higher education that have forced many independent college campus bookstores across the country to shutter. (Shelf Awareness)

As word meanings shift over time, so do our euphemisms. Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter considers why euphemisms change so often in a “linguistically mature” society. (Aeon)

“In Williams’s world, we are all wandering interlopers—adrift, trapped, groundless—looking for visitors’ privileges.” Critic James Wood writes about the surreal, hallucinatory fiction of Joy Williams. (New Yorker)

Nadja Spiegelman—whose father Art Spiegelman is the Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic novelist of Maus—discusses her new memoir, I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This, which explores the history of her mother’s side of the family. (Signature Reads)

At Guernica, writer Tana Wojczuk considers Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus in relation to how Donald Trump’s campaign and the Brexit have drawn on populist angst.Coriolanus believes fame is its own justification. The problem this raises in a democracy is that we want our leaders to represent us, not faithfully but flatteringly, showing us a vision of ourselves heavily filtered and posed to show off our best angles. The echo chamber reifies and reinforces ugly impulses we would otherwise have to own.”