A big week for books: Zadie Smith’s NW is out (read the first lines), as is Christopher Hitchens’s Mortality, a collection of essays penned while he fought cancer (our essay on Hitchens’ death) (his collection Arguably is out in paperback today). More new books: Emma Straub’s Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Umberto Eco’s essay collection Inventing the Enemy, Davy Rothbart’s essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot, Frederick Seidel’s poetry collection Nice Weather, documentarian Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, and the Navy Seal book about the bin Laden mission. Also, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is now out in paperback (read Eugenides on the book’s genesis), as is Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer winner The Swerve.
How would you respond if someone asked you, “If you walk into a liquor store to count the unsold bottles, but the clerk is screaming at you to leave, what do you do?” during a job interview? At The Morning News, Giles Turnbull tried to answer the weirdest job interview questions. His answer to the question: “What in the name of God would I be doing counting unsold bottles in a liquor store? Are you trying to fuck with my mind?”
Over thirteen years, John Berryman wrote his famous Dream Songs, composing his most innovative and well-known poetry while his own life began to unravel. In a piece for the LRB, August Kleinzahler reappraises the poet to mark a raft of new editions of his work, citing Randall Jarrell, Saul Bellow and other contemporaries in the process. Pair with Stephen Akey on The Dream Songs.
“I take to heart Percival Everett’s point that all writing begins as experiment. Experiments are hypo/theses; wagers; fermentations or useless admixtures; mud pies and blood pies.” Miranda Mellis talks with HTMLGiant’s Christopher Higgs in the next installment of Higgs’s essential “What Is Experimental Literature?” interview series. It’s worth perusing the the back catalog if you missed the first three, with the fabulous Debra Di Blasi, Danielle Dutton, and Bhanu Kapil.