The latest installment of #LitBeat involves musings on puritanical projection, the phrases “ass-banging” and “mucus flaps” and a least one instance of the word “boner.” Our correspondent was there for The New Inquiry read along of Millions contributor Mike Thomsen’s new book, Levitate the Primate: Handjobs, Internet Dating, and Other Issues for Men.
“I can tell you that, as of today, I don’t feel any different about Mr Whitehead, or his review, or my response.” Richard Ford doubles down on his reaction to a negative 2001 review by fellow novelist Colson Whitehead. (Said response, in case you missed it, was to tell Whitehead 'you’re a kid, you should grow up,' and spit in his face.) We hope Whitehead is laughing at home with his Pulitzer Prize, recently awarded for last year's literary juggernaut The Underground Railroad. And as our own Emily St. John Mandel reminds us, there are far more gracious ways to respond to criticism.
It’s been a full week, which means you’ve had to time to digest the half-season finale of AMC’s Mad Men. But before you dive into the works on our Mad Men Reading List while awaiting the premiere of the next half-season, you should take some time to read Phillip Maciak’s incredible recap and analysis of “Waterloo.”
Anya Ulinich, author of Petropolis, talks to World Literature Today: "What else can a person do when she gets home after a ten-hour work day - with a toothache that she can't afford to fix . . . - but fall on the couch and watch whatever is in front of her face?" . . . Lydia Davis, whose Collected Stories is just out, talks to Sarah Manguso for The Believer: "At the origin of the work there has to be strong feeling, if it’s going to be any good. Of course, that strong feeling can be a delight in language." . . . The Book Bench unearths a 1978 John Updike interview with a Croation periodical, which finds the Rabbit Angstrom author halfway through his tetralogy. . . . Edwin Frank of NYRB Classics talks to Omnivoracious, and selects his favorite books in the series (via). . . . And James Ellroy submits to interrogation at The Paris Review: "I was always thinking about how I would become a great novelist."