Much fuss was made about Barack Obama’s ex-girlfriends this week, as an excerpt from David Maraniss’ forthcoming Barack Obama: The Story was published in Vanity Fair. Of course, we sophisticated book readers care less about the man’s old flames than we do his literary pursuits, right? That’s why Mr. President’s analysis of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland” is so interesting.
An interview with the author David Bajo, on his new novel Panopticon: “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of privacy, especially how our society constantly seeks ways to invade it technologically, how we consistently undermine it by happily participating in digital omniscience, yet how we are outraged by the pain that technology and that desire sometimes cause.”
The Rake takes note of the New Yorker’s particularly dark reading of Goodnight Moon.Iain Hollingshead gamely responds to being awarded the “Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award” for his debut novel Twentysomething, which included such turns of phrase as “everything is pure white as we’re lost in a commotion of grunts and squeaks.”With a few celebs getting in trouble for racist outbursts this year Malcolm Gladwell (ever thoughtful) comes up with a way to figure out who’s really being offensive and who’s just dumb.Maud points to a new blog from one of my favorite publishers, NYRB Press.Dozens of year end-lists floating around here and elsewhere, but I always take special note of Jonathan Yardley’s year-end column because it is always thoughtful and sometimes surprising.To do (as soon as I have the time): listen to the Bat Segundo Show that features Edward P. Jones.
Chris (Simpsons Artist) will be publishing a book on positivity. Check out a few scenes from it in The Guardian. He has advice for how to handle everything from depression to hair nits. For more graphic art, we review the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Drawn and Quarterly.
Just in time for Mother’s Day: whiz-kid chef (and friend of The Millions) Barton Seaver has just published his first book, For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking. Bon appetit, Mom!
“I hope they also love that experience of surprise and delight and really engaging stories in the fiction sense, but also in the writers at work sense and in the poetic sense.” A Vanity Fair interview with Emily Nemens, The Paris Review’s new editor. And here’s a list of 20 reasons you should absolutely be reading literary magazines.