for actors who’ve considered suicide/when the matrix isn’t enuf: Keanu Reeves, who some years ago raised hackles when he played Shakespeare’s melancholy Dane, has now written a book-length poem called Ode to Happiness that pokes fun at excessive melancholy. “I draw a hot sorrow bath/In my despair room,” it begins.
Avril Haines, the new deputy director of the CIA, had an interesting career before landing in the Langley. According to a Washington Post report, Haines used to own an independent bookstore in Baltimore, where she “welcomed patrons for the occasional readings of high-toned erotica over chicken tostadas.”
Recommended Reading: Nathaniel Rich discusses Stephen Wright’s Meditations in Green, which he says is remarkable because “it convinces you that the war never ended.” Indeed, Rich writes, the author’s debut novel “suggests that Vietnam at some point transcended the Indochina peninsula and became a mental condition, a state of being not unlike certain forms of insanity, that has become encrypted in our genetic code.”
This will either make or ruin your Tuesday: a clip of Orson Welles, in 1974, reminiscing about his relationship with Hemingway. As Sadie Stein writes, “it has everything: titanic ego-clashing, disingenuous concern-trolling, bullfighting, damning with faint praise, posthumous character assassination.” You could also read Jessica Roake on Peter Biskind’s My Lunches with Orson.
“To me a book is not just a particular file. It’s connected with personhood. Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say. And what I’m concerned with is when Silicon Valley looks at books, they often think of them as really differently as just data points that you can mush together. They’re divorcing books from their role in personhood.” Digital pioneer and theorist Jaron Lanier fears that the Internet might be destroying not just literature, but also the middle class.
This week we posted two new #LitBeat features on our Tumblr. In one piece, Greg Cwik roamed Brooklyn as part of The Morley Walk, a tour organized by Melville House’s Dustin Kurtz in order to bring attention to Christopher Morley’s The Haunted Bookshop. In another, Michael Spinelli reports on a conversation between Saïd Sayrafiezadeh and Sam Lipsyte.