“Eisenhower’s doctor, Howard McCrum Snyder, knew better than anyone that the commander in chief paid a heavy physical toll for the blandness he projected in public — and once had a presidential golf club thrown at him.” Janet Maslin reviews a new book on the “hidden” President.
Recommended Reading: The New York Times’s feature on Dana Spiotta. “When Dana Spiotta was working on her fourth novel, Innocents and Others, she sat beneath a huge bulletin board pinned with her sticky notes and research materials: lists of relevant words (passion, transformation, intimacy) and ‘seeing’ devices (zoetrope, stereoscope, camera obscura), and photographs of Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard and the Maysles brothers. ‘It’s like walking into the book,’ Spiotta told me. ‘You feel it all around you.’” To prepare for her upcoming release, revisit our review of Stone Arabia.
L.A.-based readers won’t want to miss this weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held this year on the USC campus. Millions staff writer Patrick Brown will be moderating a panel discussion about bookselling, “From the Front Register,” on Saturday at 12:30 pm. At 2:30 that same day, I’ll be on a panel facilitated by Lizzie Skurnick called “Fiction: The Long and Short of It.” My fellow panelists are Yiyun Li and occasional Millions contributor Victoria Patterson. Go here for details and to order panel tickets (just $1 each)!
Philip Roth may have retired, but that doesn’t mean he’s done giving interviews. The author recently sat down with the editor of a Swedish newspaper, who talked with him about misogyny, Sabbath’s Theater and the need for “obstinacy” in a writer. (Related: our own Hannah Gersen reviewed Roth Unbound.) (h/t The Paris Review)
This week, Football Book Club will be reading Brain Fever by Kimiko Hahn and posting essays about Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio — its selection from last week — and life without the NFL. Brain Fever is the 10th book of poetry from Hahn, who won the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry and an American Book Award in 2008 and was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010.
New this week: The State We’re In by Ann Beattie; Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner; The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips; The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton; In The Language of Miracles by Najia Hassib; Still Life Las Vegas by James Sie; and Subway Stations of the Cross by Ins Choi. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
Ever thought that writing a novel was like a video game you just couldn’t win? In the new video game The Novelist, players count pages not bodies as they try to help the protagonist balance writing with his family life. “There’s no winning or losing,” designer Kent Hudson said. “[M]y hope is that as you’re presented with the same fundamental question … over the course of the game, that you start to learn about your own values.”