Michael Chabon is really into prog rock. And I just picked up a couple of great Emerson Lake & Palmer LPs. So now I’ve got a soundtrack for reading Telegraph Avenue, which I’m especially stoked on after our own Michael Bourne’s review of the novel, devoted as I am to the “brilliant little brushstrokes of language.”
Alexandra Alter interviews National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates about the success of Between the World and Me. As he puts it, "The best part of writing is really to educate yourself. I don’t want to be anybody’s expert. I came in to learn." Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s Millions piece on Coates’s epistolary essay.
It's fitting in a weird sort of way that this article, which illustrates the unravelling of Truman Capote’s career, has quotes from two characters named Slim Keith and Babe Paley. Back in 1988, Gerald Clarke covered the story from a slightly different angle.
Not every worthy book finds the audience it deserves as quickly as Edan Lepucki's California. John Warner writes about the long aftermath of finding his debut, The Funny Man, featured in our 2011 Most Anticipated Book Preview: "I wondered, what if? Maybe this was going to be the next phase of my life, and when people asked me what I did, I’d say that I wrote novels." His new collection of short stories is Tough Day for the Army.
Short on insult fodder? In that case you’ll want to read Colin Burrow’s review of Melissa Mohr’s Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing. It includes such notables as: “slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubbardly lowts … slutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, [and] codshead loobies.” In the end, “swearing is one of the most basic human acts,” he writes.
What would happen if two percent of the world's population disappeared overnight? HBO's new teaser for its adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers asks us to contemplate that question. From what we see so far, it looks terrifying. The series premieres on June 15.
Michael Seidlinger writes on how consciousness occurs online. As he puts it, “We have all become Sisyphus, pushing our rocks up a hill littered with hyperlinks and tweets, perpetually, futilely, refreshing the page of existence.” Pair with this Millions piece on the best of literary Twitter.