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.”
The New York Review of Books posts a vintage essay by Joan Didion on the films of Woody Allen: “This notion of oneself as a kind of continuing career—something to work at, work on, ‘make an effort’ for and subject to an hour a day of emotional Nautilus training, all in the interests not of attaining grace but of improving one’s ‘relationships’—is fairly recent in the world, at least in the world not inhabited entirely by adolescents. In fact the paradigm for the action in these recent Woody Allen movies is high school.”
“[Don] DeLillo’s characters long to penetrate the enigmas and intrigues of his conjured worlds; DeLillo’s readers devour his sentences, images and narratives for what amounts to something similar: for all that DeLillo — the seeker, the prophet, the mystic, the guide — sees.” Don DeLillo has a new book, Zero K, out tomorrow. Go check out this review from The New York Times, and then go take a look at this essay from The Millions’s own Nick Ripatrazone on DeLillo and American athletics.