The Believer posts a 2003 essay featuring Donald Barthelme’s reading list, which came secondhand to Kevin Moffett, a self-professed non-reader: “Barthelme’s only guidance, passed on by Padgett Powell, one of Barthelme’s former students at the University of Houston and my teacher at the time, was to attack the books ‘in no particular order, just read them,’ which is exactly what I, in my confident illiteracy, resolved to do.” (via The Paris Review)
The 113th anniversary of Thomas Wolfe’s birthday was last Thursday, but the author lives on in America’s cultural memory thanks to the title of his 1940 novel, You Can’t Go Home Again. Unfortunately, the titular phrase seems to be taken at face value by many people these days, and that can lead to some groan-worthy invocations. A newly-minted Tumblr blog illustrates the point.
Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato reflects on her position living between languages. “I learned English out of necessity and that comes with its own problems—aesthetic and political ones. With childhood in one language and a writing life in the other, I’m standing both inside and outside my mother tongue and my stepmother tongue.” Pair with a piece on the important role of translators in literature.
Nineteen intrepid RapGenius users set out to break down the “cultural clusterf*ck and middle finger to the stripped-down simplicity of the Imagists” otherwise known as T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland.”
Byliner has published two never-before-seen stories by the late Elmore Leonard. The first story, “The Trespassers,” follows a pair of hunters, while the second focuses on a whiskey-swilling priest who gets involved in a showdown in the Wild West. (You should also read our own Bill Morris on the qualities that made Leonard a special writer.)
An early example of the literary take-down. Willa Cather on Mark Twain: “He is not a reader nor a thinker nor a man who loves art of any kind.”