New this week is David Bezmozgis’s The Free World, the new Geoff Dyer collection of criticism Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (reviewed here today), “Professor X’s” higher ed expose In the Basement of the Ivory Tower, Funeral for a Dog, a German novel in translation by young author Thomas Pletzinger, which John Wray has blurbed as “ballsy,” and Chinaberry, a posthumously published novel by the Appalachian author James Still.
As part of his research for his recent treatise on office life, Cubed, n + 1 editor Nikil Saval looked back on his own years in an open office. In an interview with Sara Scribner, he talks about his growing awareness that it wasn’t good for his health: “It was sociable in some good senses, but also mostly not a pleasant place to be.”
“By now, you are probably asking yourself, Did these two ever talk about anything serious? Of course, we did. We talked about how writing a poem is no different from taking out a frying pan and concocting a dish out of the ingredients available in the house, how in poetry, as in cooking, it’s all a matter of subtle little touches that come from long experience or are the result of sudden inspiration.” Charles Simic writes movingly about his friend, the late poet Mark Strand, and their various schemes, from buying palazzos to founding a gastronomic poetry movement, for The New York Review of Books.
Last month, while traveling through Des Moines, Iowa, President Barack Obama had the chance to interview one of his favorite authors: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson. The first part of the conversation was just published in the NYRB and the second part will appear in the next issue. Obama, who is a big fan of Robinson, had recently quoted her in his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Like moss, my family grew on a mountain. In the utmost northwest of Spain, they set down roots so thick that only despair could rip them out.” Lorena Piñeiro writes at Midnight Breakfast about her family and penance. Pair with a piece on the business of nonfiction.
The Times has announced its long-awaited (and -feared) digital subscription plan: “Under the plan, which begins on March 28, visitors to NYTimes.com will be able to read 20 articles a month free. The most frequent users will pay $15 a month; print subscribers will have unlimited access.” A letter to readers about the plan from Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.