Tim Weiner won the Pulitzer Prize for Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. Then, four years after its publication, he received a box of J. Edgar Hoover’s “personal files on [FBI] intelligence operations between 1945 and 1972” from a well-connected D.C. lawyer. That treasure trove of information has since wound up in his recently published book, Enemies: A History of the FBI, and he sat with NPR’s Terry Gross to talk all about it.
Fellow children of the ‘90s will remember how much that decade was a kind of Golden Age for disaster movies. Then as now, explosive blockbusters like Independence Day, Twister and Dante’s Peak satisfied a collective appetite for wide-scale destruction and mayhem. At The Morning News, Ethan Gilsdorf considers what the genre’s evolution has to say about us.
At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova shares a series of drawings (produced in collaboration with Debbie Millman) that map the regions of the US according to literary quotations. Thoreau, perhaps not surprisingly, gets the East Coast with a quote from Walden, while Year in Reading alum Jeffrey Eugenides represents the Midwest.
This article on M.F.K. Fisher, the godmother of American food writing, should be catnip for those of you who like reading about food almost as much as eating it. A onetime French expat, Fisher conducted “a one-woman revolution in the field of literary cookery,” most notably with her collection of essays The Gastronomical Me. (Back in 2010, Jessica Ferri wrote about Fisher for The Millions.)
Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries (recently reincarnated as HBO’s True Blood), talks with Barbara Peters of the Poisoned Pen Press and Bookstore for her interview series “The Criminal Calendar.” See the first of six YouTube installments here. Harris, like her most famous heroine, offers a mix of canny intuition and folksy charm. Asked about the bisexuality of one very old vampire in “the Sookie-verse” she answers Peters, “I figure if you live that long, you might as well diversify. Wouldn’t you get bored, you would think–you’d be willing to try anything if you live that long.”
How do you celebrate Pride and Prejudice‘s 200th birthday? By building a 12-foot tall statue of Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy in his wet shirt. The fiberglass statue is temporarily installed in Hyde Park but will tour the U.K. before settling in Lyme Park, Cheshire, where the famous scene was filmed.
The Barcelona Review has the text of the eponymous story from Alan Heathcock’s Volt for your reading pleasure. You might remember Heathcock’s work from last Decemeber, when Michael Schaub picked the “dark, beautiful short story collection” in his Year in Reading installment, and then gave it a glowing review for NPR.