Over at the Los Angeles Times, novelist and critic Mary McNamara offers a working mother’s guide to writing a novel. A glimpse into the life of someone who’s way better at managing her time than I am.
Out this week: Flâneuse by Lauren Elkin; Abandon Me by Melissa Febos; Lower Ed by Tressie McMillan Cottom; Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; No Other World by Rahul Mehta; Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan; and To Be a Machine by our own Mark O’Connell (who we interviewed recently). For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
"Officials in charge of an Australian writers festival were so upset with the address by their keynote speaker, the American novelist Lionel Shriver, that they censored her on the festival website and publicly disavowed her remarks." Dang. (We agree, it was pretty bad – she wore a sombrero for most of her speech.) Writers' conferences: They're intense.
One of the best parts of last month's Cullman Center discussion between John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower was watching JJS carry on the conversation while sipping from a highball glass of whiskey. The essayist's Southern roots and Irish ancestry of course make him no stranger to potent potables, which is why Danny Nowell's "John Jeremiah Sullivan" cocktail is so appropriate.
On the New Yorker’s Elements blog, our own Mark O’Connell writes about Cloak, a new app which lets you avoid people you don’t want to bump into by accident. Despite the fact that Mark can see himself using the app, he finds it “ultimately troubling,” in large part because it strikes him as “such a lonely thing to have achieved through technological control of our social environments.” (Speaking of apps, have you read Mark’s epic e-book?)
"If you can get some brilliant artists to make a musical about your childhood, I highly recommend it. It's very cathartic." Recent MacArthur fellow Alison Bechdel's hugely successful graphic memoir, Fun Home, has been adapted into a Broadway musical, and now she's written a coda to the book that looks at what the musical has meant to her and what it could have meant to her parents. Pair with our interview with Bechdel here.
“In Rilke’s essay on Auguste Rodin, written in the same year, he describes the sculptor’s visits to the Jardin des Plantes early in the morning to sketch the sleepy animals. And later on, in Rodin’s studio on the Rue de l’Université, he observes a tiny plaster cast of an antique tiger that Rodin treasured: ‘There is a cast of a panther, of Greek workmanship, hardly as big as a hand…. If you look from the front under its body into the space formed by the four powerful soft paws, you seem to be looking into the depths of an Indian stone temple; so huge and all-inclusive does this work become.’” Henri Cole on the poet and a place that inspired his work.