Amid recent discussion here and elsewhere about what to do about bad reviews, in the Washington Post Chris Bohjalian writes of the time he resisted the temptation to pan a book by the teacher who almost crushed his nascent literary career.
In 1979, William Gaddis taught a course at Bard College on “The Literature of Failure,” examining works that somehow focused on personal failure or insufficiency. These included, among other books, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays, as well as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. In Bookforum, Casey Michael Henry takes on a related genre: the literature of obsolescence. You could also read James Cappio on meeting Gaddis in person.
Over at The Paris Review, basketball columnist (and really great poet) Rowan Ricardo Phillips has written a compelling essay on Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, hot streaks, and the tenability of genius. Jacob Lambert’s essay on reading about (and not watching) sports is a nice complement.
“By the time Mr. Bass bought the building for $8.2 million in 1997, the Strand had become the largest used-book store in the world.” Fred Bass, the owner of the Strand, has died at the age of 89. Bass — who bought used books with panicked fervor, opened up satellite kiosks, and created the fabled literary quiz for prospective employees — turned his father’s used bookstores into a New York City literary landmark.