This week, New Directions offers up a collection that may offer some context to the Roberto Bolaño oeuvre. As the catalog copy suggests, “Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolaño wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues.” Also out: Library of America does Kurt Vonnegut with Novels & Stories, 1963-1973; The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, a political tome by playwright David Mamet; and Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman, the scientist and polymath who was recently profiled in the New Yorker.
“What does each president’s fitness for parenthood reveal about his fitness to run our country?” Daniel Jones reviews First Dads by Joshua Kendall, which takes an inside look at the fathers of our nation. You could also check out our own Janet Potter’s project to read a biography of every sitting president.
At Guernica, Kirsten O’Regan delves into labiaplasty, a “relatively unregulated, frequently botched” and scarily popular new surgery. The oddest (and saddest) thing she learns about the procedure? Apparently a lot of young mothers urge their daughters to do it.
Ben Yagoda provides a step-by-step recount of the 1959 British obscenity case over Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and every noted literary name from Graham Greene to Evelyn Waugh to T. S. Eliot who weighed in: “The whole thing was very well stage-managed with a splendid cast.”
Does love “crack [your] sternum open” or is love like the “mystery of water and a star?” Is your soul “an empty carousel at sunset?” Are you an only child? I ask because these – along with several other questions – will help Farrar, Straus, and Giroux determine once and for all: “Which Poet Are You?”
The annual Edinburgh World Writers' Conference wrapped up earlier this week, but, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can relive the magic: Transcripts and videos of notable speeches are available on the conference's website, including the concluding talk on the future of the novel by China Mieville.