I can’t recommend John Jeremiah Sullivan‘s 7,000-word article on The Pale King highly enough – not because he gets everything right, but because it’s what long-form writing about books should look like: passionate, lucid, wide-ranging, and awfully fun to read. I salute GQ for running it, and hope to see more literary coverage there in the future.
There are a lot of writers who work in advertising, and it’s starting to have an impact. People are more likely to love brands if there is a story involved, according to a new study. “We’ve known for a long time there is no ‘buy’ button in the brain. But these results show there’s a ‘story’ button,” neuroscientist Paul Zak says. Pair with: Our essay on working at a creative agency after getting your MFA.
“A few weeks ago, I texted my writing group, ‘All I really want is to be just famous enough to have my own celebrity book club.’ I was kind of kidding. But I kind of wasn’t. Because, like portion-packaged organic snacks delivered to your door, isn’t book club ownership one step closer to having it all?” Laura Briskman on the faux intimacy of celebrity book clubs, as more and more celebrities start their own post Oprah.
To add to the awards lists, Believer has announced its editors’ shortlist for the Believer Book Award, which looks to acknowledge “the strongest and most underappreciated” novels of the year. The shortlist includes Danielle Dutton’s Sprawl; Kira Henehan’s Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles (reviewed for The Millions); James Hynes‘ Next, Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps (reviewed for The Millions); and Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies (reviewed here).
If at some point in your life you lose a beloved pet, and if, while mourning, you decide to write an obituary, know this — whatever you write will not be as good as E.B. White’s tribute to his dog. (You can read more pieces like it in the perfectly-titled E.B. White on Dogs.)
What do you get if you combine Man Ray with some of the most celebrated artistic figures of 1920’s Paris such as Ernest Hemingway, Lee Miller, and Marcel Duchamp? The answer is: some predictably fantastic portraits. For more on Man Ray, here’s a moving essay on how his Hollywood Album redefined Liska Jacobs’ idea of a “life’s work.”