The New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino, whose first book, “Trick Mirror,” quickly landed on the best-seller list, has been called the voice of the millennial generation.
“There shouldn’t be a voice of a generation,” she says on this week’s podcast. “There are so many. It’s kind of self-evident that only bad things can come from designating someone singular in any way. So I’m flattered, but not taking that seriously at all.”
Tolentino goes on to discuss the ways in which her essays grapple with the internet’s influence on our thoughts and behavior.
“I’ve come of age as a writer in a time where understanding something doesn’t necessarily lead to you being able to do anything about that thing,” she says. “The internet gives us this feeling of being able to know everything about anything, but often feeling like we’re able to do less and less every day. Just the question of ‘What is the use of understanding something?’ is this meta question hovering in my mind.”
John Taliaferro visits the podcast this week to talk about his new book, “Grinnell,” a comprehensive biography of George Bird Grinnell, a pioneering conservationist who also fought for the cause of Native Americans. “He wanted to get their history down before it was wiped out, which he did very avidly and with great dedication, and also advocate for them. Now, you could say he was paternalistic, because he sometimes referred to them as his children, but he was incredibly progressive for his day,” Taliaferro says. “That was one of the pleasant things to discover when I worked on this book. I didn’t have to apologize for him.”
Also on this week’s episode, Lauren Christensen, Andrew LaVallee and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
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