David Grann in The New Yorker: “Did Texas execute an innocent man?” This is why long-form journalism matters.
In 1913, Ambrose Bierce, at the age of seventy-one, rode a horse from California to Mexico, where he planned to cover the ongoing Revolutionary War. At some point, he disappeared and died, though accounts vary as to what exactly killed him. At The Paris Review Daily, Forrest Gander recounts the many deaths of the Devil’s Dictionary author, which include a public burning, death by disease and executions at the hands of Mexican soldiers.
The Netflix-like book subscription service Oyster Books has shut down and most of its team is heading over to Google. Google is reluctant to admit that Oyster was a purchase, yet sources indicate they will begin paying investors for the right to hire most of their staff. As we wave goodbye, here is one last read from The Oyster Review.
Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
U.S. publishing house Little, Brown had a rough day in the news yesterday. Its coy marketing tactics have rubbed some booksellers the wrong way, reports Julie Bosman for The New York Times. Later on, The New York Post‘s Keith J. Kelly noted that the publisher has dropped one of its bigger titles. Jason Bennett raises some additional questions.
The Library of America celebrates the publication of Sherwood Anderson: Collected Stories by posting audio recordings of nine famous writers reading ten of Anderson’s famous works. Hop on over to hear readings by Charles Baxter, Siri Hustvedt, Ben Marcus, Rick Moody, and Patricia Hempl.