Staff Picks: Star Trek, Swede Levov!


This Week’s Reading

You must look at this casting sheet for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wesley Snipes as Geordi? I mean, come on! Talk about parallel universes. —Thessaly La Force

I am always eager to read a new essay by Doubleday editor Gerald Howard. His latest (in Tin House) is about depictions of working-class life in new American fiction—or really, the lack thereof. —Lorin Stein

I’m reading American Pastoral, which has elicited startling responses in public. The quantity and sheer magnitude of the comments I get! One time I opened the book near a window in a coffee shop. A passerby stopped dead, peered at the cover for confirmation, and then starting banging on the window shouting, “Swede Levov! Swede Levov!” —Daisy Atterbury

Dan Engber has written a delightful cultural history of quicksand. “Time was, a director could sink a man in the desert and still win the Oscar for best picture. Today, that gimmick has been scorned in third-rate schlock.” What the heck happened? I say: bring it back. —Thessaly La Force

I have also been catching up on the posts of (sometime diarist) Rita Konig. Rita blogs about decorating for The New York Times. Her current post is about washing machines. I have never owned a washing machine. I have never thought about owning a washing machine. I have no interest in washing machines. And yet I find Rita’s interest addictive. (No doubt Gerry would have something perceptive to say about that.) —Lorin Stein

I’ve just finished The Rings of Saturn, W. G. Sebald’s entrancing account of a walking journey through Suffolk, England. This sublime work doesn’t just confound traditional literary taxonomies: it actually exposes the slightness of the very question of genre. —Mark de Silva

In honor of the upcoming U.S. Open, I’ve been rereading David Foster Wallace’s on tennis—the Times piece on Roger Federer and the Esquire piece he wrote on Michael Joyce. His sense of wonder is almost childlike. —Miranda Popkey