Janet Reitman, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, spent five years researching Inside Scientology, which is reviewed here by Brook Wilensky-Lanford for The San Francisco Chronicle. Earlier this year, ‘Million Dollar Baby‘-screenwriter Paul Haggis spoke with Lawrence Wright of The New Yorker about L. Ron Hubbard‘s religion.
If we are, as Adam Kirsch writes, in the midst of a golden age of essays, we might want to ask exactly which essays are proof of this golden age. His first three picks -- My Heart is an Idiot, I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Pulphead -- are unsurprising choices, but then it gets a bit more interesting when he looks at Sheila Heti’s latest novel. (You could also check out a few of our pieces on these books.)
Sometime Millions contributor and New York Daily News editorial staffer Alexander Nazaryan has kicked off the Daily News' new literary blog, Page Views. Nazaryan says, "you may not think of the tabloid as a particularly literary format, but we are going to challenge your assumptions of what constitutes literary/cultural reporting in this town." His first post, "Don't tell me the book is dead," went live this morning.
Apocalyptic literature is nothing new, but it may, according to Grayson Clary, be entering a new era. In Bookforum, he argues that Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands ushers the genre into its mannerist phase. Sample quote: “The Dead Lands is really the stripped, buffed skeleton of a road story, set up to show off—attractively—an enormous quantity of decorating tropes.” You could also read our interview with Percy.
Caitlin Flanagan's long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article's contentious lines: "to really love Joan Didion ... you have to be female."