paper trail

Édouard Louis on the power of theater; James Andrew Miller working on book about HBO

Édouard Louis. Photo: Arnaud Delrue

For The Week, Phillip Maciak reflects on the death of “the good internet” and what the loss of websites like Gawker, Deadspin, and Grantland, among others, means for writing and journalism. “What these sites represented, what they tried to mainstream — or at least fund — is done,” he writes. “Experiment after experiment has failed, not because these writers couldn't produce extraordinary writing, but because the people in a position to value it consistently failed to know how to value it, and because those same people often failed to see those writers — who used to write for free! — as deserving of workers’ rights and protections.”

Édouard Louis talks to the New York Times about two new stage adaptations of History of Violence and The End of Eddy, which open in Brooklyn later this month. Louis reflected on the power of theater as exemplified in his reaction to seeing Tony Kushner’s Angels in America while he was still closeted. “This play was confronting me with things that I had been trying to hide for so many years. It was too violent for me to see,” he said. “The fact that I was uncomfortable was very emancipatory. . . . I wouldn’t be the same person today if I had not felt uncomfortable.”

James Andrew Miller is writing a book about HBO. Little is known about the project, which will be published by Henry Holt, but Recode reports that Miller “intends to cover the network from its founding in 1972, up through its current incarnation as the key part of AT&T’s strategy to take on Apple, Amazon, and Netflix.”

Turkish writer Ahmet Altan has been released from prison after three years.

“Rather than living with that twinge of recognizing our mortality that comes with thinking there are too many books and not enough time to read even all of the ones everyone says are good, you can dismiss entire swaths of a library by calling them overrated,” Brandy Jensen writes of the continuous Twitter argument over which great books are actually bad. “Social media has proven exceptionally good at providing people permission to do exactly what they wanted to do anyways . . . and this is an extension of that logic.”

The Guardian reports on the “reading vigils . . . being held across Italy as fans of Elena Ferrante gather for the release of the author’s new book” today. Reviewers were sent an encrypted PDF of the book early Tuesday morning. “We were told it would take five to six hours, so as soon as I received the email I started reading and wrote an initial online review at dawn,” Il Messaggero writer Riccardo De Palo said.