Newsweek unearthed a heretofore unseen candid snapshot of J.D. Salinger “three years into the seclusion that would span the last 45 years of his life.” (Thanks, Chris)
Enlightenment comes in many guises, and though we usually think of it as arriving in a koi pond or a distant mountaintop, we can also find it, as the protagonist of Year in Reading alum Tom McCarthy’s new novel attempts to do, on Staten Island. In The New Republic, David Marcus reads the book.
What do you do if you’re Leo Tolstoy, 20 years old and being treated in isolation for venereal disease? Start a diary, of course. Because you’re Tolstoy, you’ll probably use this diary to make a plan of your day, and then comment on how your actual activities line up with your ideals (“not quite,” usually). And, to be as Tolstoy-ish as possible, why not rate all your actions on a general moral scale? An example: “Arose somewhat late and read, but did not have time to write. Poiret came, I fenced, and did not send him away (sloth and cowardice). Ivanov came, I spoke with him for too long (cowardice). Koloshin (Sergei) came to drink vodka, I did not escort him out (cowardice).” And so on. For some long-term perspective, pair with The Millions‘s perennially popular “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? 8 Experts on Who’s Greater.”
Need some great book recs for the summer? Want to hear them from the likes of Emma Straub and our own C. Max Magee? Then mark your calendars for June 18th, when Symphony Space and The Millions are hosting a summer edition of Thalia Book Club. (If you’re interested, get your tickets now — they could easily sell out quickly.)
Farrar, Straus & Giroux will team up with GQ for something called “The Originals Series.” The series, as stated in a blog post from FSG’s digital marketing manager, will consist of “authors and musicians in conversation, hosted by David Rees (Get Your War On, Artisanal Pencil Sharpening, Kale City), in an intimate West Village loft space. We’ll film each event and edit it down to a compelling short film for broadcast online.” You can RSVP to the November 8th kick-off, which features John Jeremiah Sullivan and the Brooklyn-based band Caveman, here.
Nonfiction writing might work wonders for history books, but the heart of the genre is still the essay. In a piece for The Morning News Martin Connelly discusses his youthful resolution to be an essayist, which he quickly forgot and then gradually remembered. There are also ironic license plates, convicts and a baby, just to jazz everything up a little bit.