“Limits stop you from living a life without limits,” writes Augusten Burroughs. “Of course, this is only an illusion. What limits really do is give you an acceptable excuse to avoid doing something.” (He’s talking about life, not Oulipo.) The piece is excerpted from his recent book, This Is How.
A new study indicates that when it comes to National Endowment for the Arts grants, “there is not a disproportionate benefit to wealthy individuals.” In fact, the grants often benefit both the rich and poor alike.
“Over the years, Gross has done some 13,000 interviews, and the sheer range of people she has spoken to, coupled with her intelligence and empathy, has given her the status of national interviewer. Think of it as a symbolic role, like the poet laureate — someone whose job it is to ask the questions, with a degree of art and honor.” Terry Gross sits down with The New York Times Magazine in honor of her 40th anniversary hosting Fresh Air.
In most portrayals of Cold War espionage, both Communist and capitalist spies appear wedded to their respective ideologies. Yet real spies, as the FBI knows, often have more nebulous motivations. In the Times Book Review, Ben MacIntyre reads the latest by Ha Jin, which centers on a Chinese spy embedded in suburban Virginia.
The New York Times reports that actress Carrie Fisher‘s books have risen to the top of Amazon’s bestseller lists following news of her death. Fisher penned the memoirs Wishful Drinking, Shockaholic, and The Princess Diarist, which just came out last month, as well as several novels, including the book-made-movie Postcards from the Edge. Our own Lydia Kiesling included Postcards on a reading list for her short-lived celebrity book club a few years back.
The Toast may be closing its doors soon, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still putting out hilarious pieces. This week, it’s Vape Aficionado’s Guide to Finding a Token Lady-Writer, featuring such gems as: “Margaret Atwood: Because she’s good at Twitter and you forgot how to spell ‘Le Guin,'” and “George Eliot: Whoops, you thought George was a dude, didn’t you? Purely accidental, but it still counts!”
Haruki Murakami’s latest book – the title of which translates to Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and the Year of His Pilgrimage – went on sale in Japan last month, and in that time it’s been selling over a million copies a week. You can catch a glimpse of the book’s first and earliest reviews over at the NY Daily News. (By the way, did you know Murakami translated The Great Gatsby into Japanese?)