Christopher R. Weingarten’s long Spin essay about Lana Del Rey, Cults, and “a multitude of mostly female-led indie heartachers” is one of the best things you’ll read this week. It’s also, as a matter of fact, one of the best multimedia integrations of Spotify I’ve seen in a while. More of this, please.
“The last line of Saul Bellow’s ‘A Single Dish’ is nothing like poetry. I can’t tell you what any single one of those words means. Imagine you’re a lexicographer and you have to define the word that, or how. And on top of this, there’s none of Bellow’s typical play with rhythm and language—it’s almost a non-sentence. And yet, when I get to it in the story, I weep.” Ethan Canin at The Atlantic on how Saul Bellow packs so much emotion into a single sentence. Here are a couple Bellow-related Millions links for your perusing pleasure.
Joel Rice has a new column up at McSweeney’s, in which he looks at “the literature of skateboarding.” All in all, this kind of reflective writing should pair nicely with Nick Courage’s fantastic Paris Review piece from last month. (Bonus: Rice’s column linked above also features a nice little bit of David Foster Wallace memorabilia.)
I’ve written before about Matthew Jockers‘s claim, as reported and presented by the Paris Review, that there are only about 6 plots in fiction. Now Dan Piepenbring returns to the Review to respond to critics who and attempt to answer the questions “is it really possible to assign every word a reliable emotional valence? And even if the answer is yes, can we really claim that all the plots in the history of literature take so few basic forms?”
Celebrated author Jean Craighead George passed away this week at the age of 92. George published more than 100 books throughout her career, often focusing on the environment and the natural world, most famously in My Side of the Mountain and in her Newbery Medal-winner, Julie of the Wolves.