With Naipaul and Theroux making nice, the Times asks Christopher Hitchens what makes for a good literary feud these days: “A really first-rate bust-up must transcend the limits of ‘an entertaining side show’ and involve playing for high moral and intellectual stakes”
“I was dropping out of college and had begun a novel and returned to New York. A bookstore in Manhattan announced a rare reading and signing by Anthony Burgess, a primary hero of mine at the time, for his autodidact’s erudition and braggadocio, and for how he’d gentrified a number of outre genres just by picking them up and mingling them with his erudition and braggadocio.” At the LARB, Jonathan Lethem remembers a formative reading by the author.
In Born to Run, author Christopher McDougall talks about the legendary accomplishments of ultrarunner Micah Tue, aka Caballo Blanco, or "the wandering White Horse of Mexico's Copper Canyons." Last month, Tue disappeared after embarking on a 12-mile run in Gila National Forest. Distraught, worried, and curious, McDougall set off on a hunt to track him down.
"In no particular order, except one of hallelujah, here’s a necessarily partial list of some other living Korean American writers whose work or person, or both, I’ve had the great good luck of encountering"....you'll have to read the interview for the lengthy list as well as the thoughts of four Korean American writers who gathered at the behest of R.O. Kwon to discuss the influence and impact of Alexander Chee. It's full of beautiful insights from Kwon, Nicole Chung, Alice Sola Kim, and Matthew Salesses such as "Alex said he 'wanted to plant that flag in the culture,' and until he said that I don’t know if I’d thought about it as a reason to write. The need to exist in the canon, in the literary world. I found that very powerful, and very brave". Chee's newest book is an essay collection, How to Write An Autobiographical Novel, that we eagerly anticipated last month.
“Salinger’s Holden Caulfield made a distinction between writers you would like to call on the phone and those you wouldn’t care to talk to at all. Teju Cole belongs to the former group.” Year in Reading alum Aleksandar Hemon interviews Teju Cole. If you can’t get enough of Cole, we interviewed him, too.
The New York Times is reporting that the poet John Ashbery has died. A major figure in American letters, Ashbery won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in a single year for his book Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. The full Times obituary has more.
Recommended Reading: Maria Konnikova on “flow” and first-person shooters.