Let’s play a game: a “lazy Sunday” version of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Ready? Good. Imagine you’re hanging out with Junot Díaz today. What do you want to do? Select Option A to go barhopping. Select Option B to go comic book shopping. Select Option C to read an excerpt from his new book, This Is How You Lose Her. Or Select Option D to read Leah Hager Cohen’s review of the collection. There is no wrong answer.
At Bookforum, Rebecca Donner talks with former Granta editor John Freeman about his new book of interviews, How to Read a Novelist. Freeman says that he enjoys interviewing writers in their homes because it allows him to observe them more closely: “The writer thinks you’re taking notes about what he’s saying, but you’re really writing, ‘His head looks like a lion’s head.’”
Apocalyptic literature is nothing new, but it may, according to Grayson Clary, be entering a new era. In Bookforum, he argues that Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands ushers the genre into its mannerist phase. Sample quote: “The Dead Lands is really the stripped, buffed skeleton of a road story, set up to show off—attractively—an enormous quantity of decorating tropes.” You could also read our interview with Percy.
“You mean people who are now in their twenties? They won’t care. People who are in their twenties will have already done this stuff, so there’s now a record. When those people are old enough to be in charge of things—which by the way I don’t ever want them to be in charge of things, and luckily, I will be dead when these people take over—everybody will have that vulnerability. When everybody is vulnerable to something it’s not a weapon.” Fran Lebowitz talks to The Awl about old New York, writer’s block, and why the politicians of the future won’t have sex tapes.
“I found it hard to escape the sensation that I’d be teaching inside a giant metaphor.” Rachel Kadish once taught a creative writing class in a bomb shelter, but rather than stifling her students’ work, it allowed her to see how writing can act as a shelter, too.
Denise Donlon writes on the day MuchMusic rocked the tube. Peter Mansbridge details when baseball player Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. And Conrad Black outlines a train trip by Canada’s first prime minister. Those are but a few of the essays by well-known Canadian personalities in the new book 100 Days That Changed Canada (HarperCollins Canada), now in stores.