December 15th. New York City. Mark your calendars. John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower discuss “the art of the essay in light of Sullivan’s new book, Pulphead.”
Penguin released a book trailer for the newest Thomas Pynchon novel in which a guy in a T-shirt that reads “I’m Pynchon” stands on a rooftop on the “Yupper” West Side and talks about his life. (To find out why I used the term “Yupper,” check out the recent New York mag piece on Pynchon that I wrote about last week.)
In memory of Peter Matthiessen, The Missouri Review has unlocked an interview with him from 1989. Matthiessen detailed the beginning of his writing career. “I started my first novel and sent off about four chapters and waited by the post office for praise to roll in, calls from Hollywood, everything. Finally my agent sent me a letter that said ‘Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this a hundred and fifty years ago, only he wrote it better. Yours, Bernice.’ I probably needed that; it was very healthy.” For more Matthiessen, you can read one of his best travel essays or his new novel, In Paradise.
In their closing statements, Russian dissidents du jour Pussy Riot cited the authors who inspired them and placed themselves in Russia’s rich history of imprisoning their artists. Also check out Carol Rumens’s excellent translation of the song that landed Pussy Riot in hot water.
A pretty nifty Neil Gaiman quotation appears on the floor of the Duke University Medical Center Library.