“It’s funny how as an author, I rarely notice what seems so obvious to other people: that I have obsessions and will write about them endlessly. Sad, lonely, self-loathing guy? Mid-20th and 21st century literature loves to write about that guy, and so do I. Reckless, self-aggrandizing, narcissist man? I like to write about him, too, though of course they are the same person. A person whose energy compels people to orbit him—family, friends, underlings, women.” The Rumpus talks with Woke Up Lonely author Fiona Maazel (who’s written for The Millions).
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses is hosting their annual Spelling Bee Fundraiser on October 30th. New Yorker editor Ben Greenman will host the event, which will pit Jonathan Ames, Amor Towles and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures author Emma Straub against one another (and more) in a battle of lexicographic perspicacity. (Can you state the language of origin, please?) The event will be judged by none other than Jesse Sheidlower, editor of the inimitable Oxford English Dictionary.
A lot is written about artists just starting their careers, and about those artists with a lifetime of work to look back over, but in a piece for The Enemy Barry Schwabasky considers the difficulty of being somewhere in the middle of an artistic career. After all, "most artists do, for better or worse, live through what’s come to be known as their midcareer. It’s just that they don’t often do so with ease. ... The middle of the journey sometimes seems to be all about losing the way."
"I became completely obsessed." At the 92nd Street Y, Rebecca Skloot shares the story behind her bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, joined by members of the Lacks family and actress Rose Byrne, who plays Skloot in the forthcoming film adaptation of her book. Skloot also discusses how the subject of the book is intimately linked to her own father's health crisis, which Amy Halloran wrote about in our own pages a few years back.
Overt at JSTOR Daily, Allana Mayer writes about visual literacy in the age of the Internet. As she explains it, “We have similar stories all throughout history: the moment when a perception—whether a literal way of seeing or a figurative mode of thinking—is assaulted and fundamentally shifts.” Pair with our own Bill Morris’s piece on the new Whitney Museum.
The Imperfectionists author and Year in Reading alum Tom Rachman has a new novel on shelves this week, as does Orson Scott Card. Also out: Eyrie by Tim Winton; O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn; So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan; Stars Go Blue by Laura Pritchett; Third Rail by Rory Flynn; and Time of the Locust by Morowa Yejide.