New releases this week include the much-hyped The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I. Also out in nonfiction is President Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit), as reviewed by the New York Times, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, and, for hip-hop fans, Jay-Z’s memoir Decoded.
At The Nervous Breakdown, Micah McRary talks with Leslie Jamison about her use of POV, her new book of essays and whether her criticism might be dubbed “evasive biography.” You could also read our interview with Jamison or else read Ryan Teitman’s review of The Empathy Exams.
As Teju Cole demonstrated with his real-time ghazals (one, two, and three) this past week, Twitter is a medium ripe for linguistic experimentation. And far from being the exclusive domain of human beings, the social network can also produce “found poetry” at the behest of computer programs – a practice I recently wrote about for The Bygone Bureau. But who’s behind these Twitter bots? Over at The Boston Globe, they check in with Darius Kazemi, the 30-year-old programmer who’s made some of the most-loved accounts out there.
Why should a college student major in English? It’s a question with hundreds of answers, but one of the most common is that reading, more so than other activities, makes you a better person. It sharpens your mind and hones your sense of morality. But what if this comforting idea -- as close as you can get to a conviction held by all writers -- has little to no basis in reality?
"There’s a deep tendency in our society to view mainstream status quo literature as having no politics, which is completely untrue. It has a very strong political value; it just happens to be conservative." Junot Díaz drops some knowledge in an interview with Vox. Pair with his Millions Interview from a few years back.