At The Washington Post, Michael Dirda on the dissolute genius Thomas De Quincey (opium addict, original chronicler of addiction, master of the macabre, prolific C19th essayist).
Robert A. Caro, who releases new installments of his Lyndon B. Johnson biography at a glacial pace, is apparently also working on another project, too. It’s “not a memoir, exactly,” he says, but it does concern “how he came to write the Johnson biography and its predecessor, The Power Broker.”
If you haven't gotten enough of literary New York quite yet, here's what the Guardian (UK) thinks you should be reading about "the American dream concretised in a shimmering mirage, the burgeoning metropolis of hope built on foundations of money, drugs and exploitation." Less judgmentally, Grantland's Kevin Nguyen focuses on two new books set in Queens, recommending High As the Horses’ Bridles by The Millions' own Scott Cheshire, which is no Brooklyn hipster novel: his opening scene ("among the finest published this year") has a 12-year-old offering a prophecy of Armageddon.
The Millions's own Edan Lepucki, whose first novel California will be released next week, was featured in The New York Times following the promotion of her novel on The Colbert Report. We recommend you read the article, read more from Edan here and here, read the first chapter of California here, and then order the novel ASAP.
After the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, the team of Reed Johnson, Juan Forero, and Sara Munoz had cause to opine within the pages of the Wall Street Journal, who are the other “post-boom Spanish-language fiction writers whose works continue to redraw the map of Latin literature?” They list six suggestions, but I think one of the names on that list would've disagreed with the comparison. (Bonus: An unpublished Márquez manuscript may be on the way as well.)
“Why do we love our writing teachers so much? I think it’s because they come along when we need them most, when we are young and vulnerable and are tentatively approaching this craft that our culture doesn’t have much respect for, but which we are beginning to love. They have so much power. They could mock us, disregard us, use us to prop themselves up. But our teachers, if they are good, instead do something almost holy, which we never forget: they take us seriously.” George Saunders offers a timeline of his writing education over at The New Yorker.