At The Awl, Brian O’Neill makes the case that following the events of September 11th, America finally caught up to the mindset of Thomas Pynchon.
Though Mark Twain first gained notoriety after publishing an essay about a famous jumping frog, the onetime Samuel Clemens didn’t really hit his stride until he became a public speaker, as the money he accrued from reading in front of audiences gave him a steady source of income. At Salon, Ben Tarnoff recounts Twain’s journey to the podium, one laid out more broadly in Tarnoff’s book about a group of San Francisco writers.
When Adrienne Raphel got to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she found a group of writers as addicted to fonts as she was. Over time, a “font subculture” developed among the poets, who settled on particular fonts as their signatures, at least for a while. At The Paris Review Daily, she writes about her typographic bent. Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg on the use of fonts in publishing.
Lots of new books out this week: Where Mortals Sleep, previously unpublished short fiction by Kurt Vonnegut, with a foreword by Dave Eggers; A Life, one of what will be several biographies of J.D. Salinger arriving over the next couple of years; Stanley Fish tells us How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One; Brian Greene introduced the masses to string theory with The Elegant Universe, and now he’s back with The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos; Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge is out in paperback; and finally, from Penguin Classics, The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime: Forgotten Cops and Private Eyes from the Time of Sherlock Holmes.
Carl Wilson, author of Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the end of Taste (a book length study of Celine Dion‘s megablockbusting album of the same name), revisits the enduring and sort of nauseating classic from Titanic‘s soundtrack in The Atlantic.
“Each imaginary book is a demonstration of fiction’s magic, as an author deposits into a fictional world yet another fictional world, like one universe bubbling out of another.” On Borges and other authors’ fictional texts and his library of imaginary books. Jeff Peer introduces us to Borges as a professor in his review of Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature.