What happens when you put one of the biggest literary egos together with music’s biggest ego? A movie. Bret Easton Ellis is working with Kanye West on a film. “He came and asked me to write the film,” Ellis told Vice. “I didn’t want to at first. Then I listened to Yeezus…I thought, regardless of whether I’m right for this project, I want to work with whoever made this.” This is an interesting pairing because Kanye definitely isn’t a reader.
At Open Letters, Rohan Maitzen writes about her awakening to the chasm between an academic appreciation for books and "a more personal, affective, and engaged vision of criticism. It has been surprising and exciting to me to realize how blinkered I was about non-academic book culture, and chastening to realize how little use my own specialized reading has been as preparation to join in."
"No one took this further, with more imagination and daring...At a time when American groups would often dress down—affluent suburban kids disguised as Appalachian farmers or Canadian lumberjacks - Bowie quite deliberately dressed up." David Bowie's sartorial legacy.
What inspired Wally Lamb's latest novel, We Are Water? Part of it came from his experience teaching writing at a women's prison in Connecticut for the past 14 years. He spoke to The Missouri Review about what it's like to teach "the incarcerated wounded" and how they have influenced his work. "With my fiction, I’ve never been afraid to go to the dark places, but I think the women have made me more daring."
When our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait, he wrote that the book compels you to keep reading because “the more Levé says, the more facts he sets down, the more you realize he hasn’t said.” But what if at the end, you’re meant to reread the book, too? Over at Words Without Borders, Jan Steyn says “the only way to get a better idea of how [these sentences] fit together is to keep reading, and reading, until the end, and then perhaps to read the book again.”
William Stuntz's book The Collapse of American Criminal Justice investigates "how, over the past 50 years, our criminal justice system had been transformed into an unfair, amoral bureaucracy--one that had given up on the very idea of justice." Its genesis is worth reading about. So, too, is this related article in the most recent edition of n+1, "Raise the Crime Rate."
"She was to me and so many poets an exemplary and inimitable figure. And I mean to emphasize the tension between 'exemplary' and 'inimitable'—what her example taught us was the necessity of going our own way, of being one with others." Ben Lerner remembers C.D. Wright, who passed away earlier this week.