If you’re an insomniac, you probably feel an odd kinship with people who work the night shift, especially if you live in a large city which is easy to explore on sleepless nights. At The Rumpus, Jess Lowry recalls her own late nights in Manhattan.
In the wake of her 2016 Presidential loss, Hillary Clinton’s best-selling book What Happened sparked the question: “Would you rather be president of the United States or a No. 1 best-selling author?” The Washington Post asked several authors including Cheryl Strayed, Erik Larson, and Joyce Carol Oates for their thoughts. See also our interview with Strayed from our archives.
Two writers dive deep into David Foster Wallace’s posthumous Pulitzer finalist novel, The Pale King. Seth Colter Walls takes a look at the tax classes the author took before he began writing, and Eliot Caroom checks the facts laid out in Wallace’s portrayal of the IRS. (Related: the opening lines of The Pale King, and a previously unpublished scene as well.)
“Will excessive drinking unleash your creative energy? Who can say?” Over at The Toast, intrepid cataloger Ren Arcamone has compiled a list of things you could be doing instead of writing your thesis. Go read it instead of writing your thesis. Continue the stay of essay execution and check out Mallory Ortberg’s hilarious (and helpful) guide to some common signs that you might be dying in a Victorian novel.
In 1817, the painter Robert Benjamin Haydon invited several guests over for what he called an “immortal dinner.” Why the bombastic name? The guests included Keats and Wordsworth, whom Haydon wished to introduce to each other. In the WaPo, Michael Dirda takes a look at The Immortal Evening, a new book about the event by Stanley Plumly.