In memory of Peter Matthiessen, The Missouri Review has unlocked an interview with him from 1989. Matthiessen detailed the beginning of his writing career. “I started my first novel and sent off about four chapters and waited by the post office for praise to roll in, calls from Hollywood, everything. Finally my agent sent me a letter that said ‘Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this a hundred and fifty years ago, only he wrote it better. Yours, Bernice.’ I probably needed that; it was very healthy.” For more Matthiessen, you can read one of his best travel essays or his new novel, In Paradise.
V.S. Naipaul (seemingly a professional misogynist at times) rankled many by suggesting there are no women writers that can equal him and calling Jane Austen "sentimental." Now the Guardian offers up a quiz that challenges readers to identify the gender of an author simply by reading a passage of his or her writing.
The Olympics Opening Ceremony this year sure was… something. Thankfully, folks more eloquent than I are here to parse its craziness for us: Jenny Diski and Rafil Kroll-Zaidi on what it was, plus Alex Shephard and the Full Stop bunch on what it should have been.
Hot on the heels of The New Yorker, The Paris Review is excerpting Calvino’s letters. In Monday’s entry, POSTERITY IS STUPID, the author writes the following: “Although I am small, ugly and dirty, I am highly ambitious and at the slightest flattery I immediately start to strut like a turkey.”
"You can’t read books all the time; trust me, I’ve tried (and like I said to the officer, at least I wasn’t texting and driving)." Simon Lowe chooses his 10 favorite book podcasts for The Guardian. We featured a list of some must-listens earlier this year too.