In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis admits that the authors he most admires are Fyodor Dostoevsky, Johann Hölderlin, The Betrothed author Alessandro Manzoni, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. He also goes on to share an interesting anecdote about his compatriot Jorge Luis Borges: “In the end I decided to send Borges two stories written by [the secondary school] boys [I was teaching]. I knew his secretary, who had been my piano teacher. And Borges liked those stories very much. And then he set out to write the introduction to a collection of these writings.”
Out this week: My Struggle: Book Five by Karl Ove Knausgaard; Before the Wind by Jim Lynch; Hystopia by David Means; Midnight in Berlin by James MacManus; and Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
“Part of what I realize now I was doing in Proxies was to integrate the incongruous aspects of my self: the child of the truck driver and Primitive Baptist self, the queer intellectual poet self, the professor without an office self, the prizewinner who was ‘midcareer’ before he was ’emerging,’ the middle-aged man at the entry-level rungs of the gig economy.” Go check out this interview with Brian Blanchfield over at The Rumpus. This is the second Blanchfield interview we’ve told you about, both worth taking a look.
From 1916 to 1925, the University of Mississippi paid William Faulkner for drawings he published in the school newspaper, Ole Miss. At Open Culture, you can see some of these drawings, which struck this writer as peculiarly un-Faulknerian. (Related: our own Nick Moran found recordings of Faulkner on the University of Virginia website.) (h/t The Paris Review)
As literary apprenticeships go, it’s hard to beat a chance to live with Doris Lessing. In 1963, not long after the death of Sylvia Plath, Jenny Diski moved in with the future Nobel laureate, who lived just north of King’s Cross in London at the time. In the LRB, Diski recounts her friendship with the novelist.