Jed Perl on Susan Sontag’s journals: “The fascination of Sontag’s prose—and its sadness—is in the extent to which she is describing herself as a person who can never really get beyond a schematic kind of thinking and feeling.”
The New York Times Magazine published an excerpt of the latest novel by Dave Eggers. The book, titled The Circle, follows Mae Holland, a woman who takes a job at a Google-esque company dubbed “the most influential in the world.” At Reuters, Felix Salmon critiques the book’s take on Silicon Valley.
Killing off your characters is never an easy feat. At The New York Times, thriller writer Alex Berenson discusses his reservations on killing the hero of his spy series. “John Wells has markedly enriched my life — an impressive feat for a man who doesn’t exist.” The eighth installment, The Counterfeit Agent, just came out.
At the Book Bench, slides of Roland Barthes’ diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form: “His brilliance, which indelibly influenced literary theory, semiotics, social theory, and post-structuralism, can make him seem as distant as he is renowned. Yet the diary entries… reveal Barthes to be extraordinarily sensitive and relatable.” (via The Rumpus)
David Meltzer interviewed renowned Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the Poetry Foundation. At 93 years of age, Ferlinghetti still contends that “the real popular poets of America” are not the people writing verse for poetry collections, but rather the folk musicians and folksingers. “A lot of folksingers’ poems are greater than the printed poems!” Ferlinghetti explains. Evidently the American Academy of Arts and Letters agrees: Bob Dylan recently became the first rock musician ever inducted into its ranks.