“A very proper letter (‘scrutinized and corrected by the magazine’s fact checkers and proofreaders,’ wrote the Times) was sent to [Robert] Gottlieb, beseeching him to decline the [New Yorker] job,” writes Elon Green in his overview of Gottlieb’s brief stint as the magazine’s editor. How would you feel if Donald Barthelme, Deborah Eisenberg, Ian Frazier, Jamaica Kincaid, Janet Malcolm, J.D. Salinger, and 148 others all told you, “don’t come” to your new job?
In memory of Peter Matthiessen, The Missouri Review has unlocked an interview with him from 1989. Matthiessen detailed the beginning of his writing career. “I started my first novel and sent off about four chapters and waited by the post office for praise to roll in, calls from Hollywood, everything. Finally my agent sent me a letter that said ‘Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this a hundred and fifty years ago, only he wrote it better. Yours, Bernice.’ I probably needed that; it was very healthy.” For more Matthiessen, you can read one of his best travel essays or his new novel, In Paradise.
Today would be author Stanley Elkin’s 80th. On this occasion, one fan posts an excerpt from The Franchiser and suggests “Read it out loud three times: the first to hear the sounds, the second to feel your mouth and tongue and throat make the sounds, the third time to listen to what Elkin is saying.”
Incredible interview with the New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson. He tells about the time he was arrested in Guinea and accused of being a spy. Happens to journalists all the time, you say? No, this was when he was thirteen. If he ever writes a memoir, publishers will be lining up. (via Jenny)I thoroughly enjoyed Ed’s account of a near-drink with William T. Vollmann.Golden Rule Jones has a lovely new home. Be sure to update your bookmarks and feed readers.Interesting article about a promotional push by The Economist in Baltimore. A few years ago, I started hearing people talk about The Economist all the time. I wasn’t sure if the magazine was getting more popular or if I was just traveling in different circles. This quote clears it up: “Of The Economist’s worldwide circulation of just less than 1.1 million, Rossi said, North America accounts for a bit more than half, at 569,336, a figure that has increased 47.3 percent since 2001.” Wow, that’s a big jump. They deserve it. It’s a great magazine. If I had more time, I’d read every issue all the way through.