Blasphemy Alert: They’re giving the film version of August: Osage County a “less downbeat” ending. Curse you, Harvey Weinstein! Is nothing sacred? Can a woman not lament the disintegration of her life, family, and mental stability while the final lines to T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” are read by her housekeeper? Has America gone soft?
Last year, Laura van den Berg came out with a new book, The Isle of Youth, which Nathan Huffstutter reviewed for The Millions. On the Guernica blog, Dwyer Murphy interviews van den Berg, who talks about jacket photos, her first collection and whether a writer from Florida is part of the Southern tradition. (You could also read van den Berg’s Year in Reading entry.)
What’s the deal with all of the novels about famous writers? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that, according to Heller McAlpin at The Literary Hub, “there’s a special frisson of pleasure in reading about writers’ early struggles when you know what the future holds for them—which in the case of most of these authors is posthumous literary acclaim beyond their wildest dreams.”
“More than 30 years after her last big swim, Diana Nyad is back in the water,” writes NPR’s Greg Allen. “Nyad, a former commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition, became well-known in the 1970s for her swim around Manhattan Island and, a few years later, for swimming from the Bahamas to Florida. Now, at age 61, she’ll soon be attempting a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West.” Unfortunately she’s already missed Key West’s Hemingway Days.
“Another friend of mine told me a story about the Apple bus from when he worked for Apple Inc. Once a driver went rogue, dropping off the majority of his passengers as intended at the main Apple campus, and then rolling on towards San Jose instead of stopping at the satellite location, but the passengers were tech people, so withdrawn from direct, abrupt, interventionary communications that they just sat there as he drove many miles past their worksite and eventually dumped them on the street in a slum south of the new power centre of the world.” In the London Review of Books, a native of San Fran laments her tech-drunk city.
The steady stream of books about and by David Foster Wallace is continuing in 2012. We already noted the forthcoming Conversations with David Foster Wallace, and the calendar now also includes The Legacy of David Foster Wallace from the University of Iowa’s New American Canon series, D.T. Max’s biography Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, and Both Flesh and Not, a collection of as yet uncollected nonfiction by Wallace.
Ralph Waldo Emerson called him “the jingle-man.” Henry James called his work “decidedly primitive.” Yet Edgar Allan Poe, nearly two centuries after his death, is now acclaimed as a writer on par with his best contemporaries. How did his reputation evolve? In the Times Literary Supplement, Marjorie Perloff reviews a new study of Poe by Jerome McGann.
Leslie Jamison’s new essay collection is getting lots of plaudits, not least here at The Millions, where Ryan Teitman argued that Jamison manages to “meet her subjects in utter intimacy.” At the Tin House blog, Stephen Sparks interviews Jamison, who talks about the book, her “shame-seeking superpower” and her epigraph-cum-tattoo.