The New York Times has a rare interview with the reclusive Italian writer Elena Ferrante. “My women are strong, educated, self-aware and aware of their rights,” Ferrante says, “but at the same time subject to unexpected breakdowns, to subservience of every kind, to mean feelings. I’ve also experienced this oscillation. I know it well, and that also affects the way I write.”
Future editions of Lena Dunham’s recent book, Not That Kind of Girl, will come with a note saying that “Barry” is not the real name of a character Dunham says raped her at Oberlin. A former student—whose actual name is Barry—threatened Random House with a lawsuit, saying he’d had to defend himself against people who thought it was him.
Following the recent staff exodus at the New Republic, CEO Guy Vidra has written an open letter to the magazine’s readers outlining its future, which will, it seems have little to do with anything so dull and recherché as journalism. The New Republic is now in the business of creating “unique and compelling experiences.” It intends to “invest in product managers, engineers, designers, data visualization and multimedia editors,” who will provide “data to let readers immerse themselves” and “imagery and video to evoke a reaction as visceral as only those mediums can bring.” We at Bookforum are especially eager for the “tools” that will let us “tailor” the stories we read “depending on the time of day or where [we] may be.”
Rather than lose our youth to assembling a roundup of all TNR stories, we’ll direct you to Choire Sicha’s “top 40” at The Awl, listed from worst (The Washingtonian: “B.J. Novak’s Character on “The Newsroom” Is a Lot Like New Republic Owner Chris Hughes”) to best (the Washington Post: “The moist-eyed Hughes would, in the coming months, prove himself to be neither an intellectual nor a partner but a dilettante and a fraud”).
At Vox, Matthew Yglesias crawls out from whatever log he’s been living under to list five little magazines to pay attention to instead of TNR: Jacobin, the New Inquiry, n+1, the Baffler, and National Affairs.
On cue, The Guardian interviews Ayesha Siddiqi, the New Inquiry’s editor in chief, in its ongoing series on women in online publishing. Siddiqi joined Twitter, she says, to tell jokes she thought Facebook couldn’t handle. She gained a following as comedians retweeted her. “After a certain point,” she explains, “my awareness of that audience fostered a sense of responsibility.”