Most actors don’t go on The Tonight Show to promote literature, but leave it to James Franco to be the first to brag about getting his poetry M.F.A. to Jimmy Fallon. He discussed his new book, Directing Herbert White, and his mentor Frank Bidart. For more on the Bidart/Franco friendship, check out our own Janet Potter’s recap of attending an event featuring the two writers.
Last month, while traveling through Des Moines, Iowa, President Barack Obama had the chance to interview one of his favorite authors: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson. The first part of the conversation was just published in the NYRB and the second part will appear in the next issue. Obama, who is a big fan of Robinson, had recently quoted her in his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“And journalists, the ones who do it for a living, will continue to have their faith in the profession shaken, as they panic and let their own standards slip in order not to be embarrassed by Reddit at 2:43 in the morning. But unlike high-frequency traders, Internet entrepreneurs, and online vigilantes, journalists have a stake in those standards, which are the only reason for having professionals do the job.” Fast news, Twitter, and journalism in the digital age.
New in fiction this week: Benediction by Kent Haruf and Ten White Geese by past IMPAC winner Gerbrand Bakker. In non-fiction: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss’s food industry exposé excerpted in the recent Times Magazine. From the other side of the food spectrum is Issue 6 of Lucky Peach. And it’s a big day for baseball fans: the 2013 Baseball Prospectus is here.