At The Paris Review, a remembrance of Evan S. Connell, whose work has been cited as an influence by Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis and Zadie Smith.
In 1952, John Steinbeck wrote that Al Capp, the cartoonist and Lil’ Abner creator, might well have been the best writer working in the world at the time. In the Times, Andy Webster reviews a new biography of Capp, which reveals that underneath it all lay “a toxic chip on his shoulder.”
Remember when Esquire released their not-so-great list of eighty books every man should read? Well, they have amended their list to eighty books every person should read, asking advice from “eight female literary powerhouses” including Roxane Gay, Michiko Kakutani and Lauren Groff. Our own Janet Potter recommends twenty-eight books you should read if you want to.
When Maeve Binchy passed away two years ago, she left behind a novel, A Week in Winter, that appeared to cap off an accomplished 40-year career. It turns out her fans have more posthumous work to look forward to: a new 400-page story collection, Chestnut Street, that comes out on April 24th.
This week in book-related infographics: a look at "What Age Do Writers Publish Their Most Famous Works?" from Electric Literature.
It’s not a commonly held opinion, but Hilary Mantel thinks Henry VIII was a romantic. In a brief interview with Jamie Sharpe, the Wolf Hall author dispels the common view of the oft-married king as a philanderer. “He thought that he had to shape his life and shape his kingdom for each woman,” she says. “Men didn’t think that way in those days.” You could also read Damian Barr’s interview with her at The Millions.