In the New York Times, a review of 2013 Year in Reading alum Olivia Laing’s new book, which delves into the alcoholism of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and six other famous writers. Among the biographical tidbits in the book: Tennessee Williams had a brandy Alexander every day when he lived in New Orleans.
“The concept that being American means, by definition, having an ideal that you’ve failed to live up to—that’s another crucial thing I learned from [James Alan] McPherson. It is not a rejection of America for Michelle Obama to note that her daughters are growing up in a house built by slaves. Or a rejection of a white writer to point out that Fitzgerald was a racist. Instead, it is American to admit those facts and to find in that admission a way forward.” On American values, Barack Obama, and the legacy of James Alan McPherson over at The Literary Hub.
“You’re asking if the Race Memoir, the Gender Memoir, or the Sexuality Memoir will survive market trends. I don’t know, but if I put your question in context with Imani Perry’s idea then yes, it will endure. Will it always be ‘trending’? No, but it will endure.” Just one of many great lines from Kima Jones who, along with Terese Marie Mailhot, Meredith Talusan, Ijeoma Oluo, and Kathryn Belden, discusses the current upswing in books on gender and race for Buzzfeed.
Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir was published a few weeks ago to great critical acclaim, and this excerpt from the book on carnal writing and sensual data is evidence of why. If Karr’s your thing, we’ve mentioned her in a couple of previous Curiosities over at The Millions.