The Empathy Exams, a new collection of essays by Leslie Jamison, gets its title from a piece about medical acting that was published in The Believer. On the Harper’s blog, you can read an interview with Jamison, who calls her collection “a refusal to choose between these approaches — criticism, confession, journalism.” (Michelle Huneven interviewed Jamison for The Millions a couple of years ago.)
The passing of Muhammad Ali was sad for fans of both sports and greatness alike. One little known Ali fact is that he once composed a line-for-line sonnet with another one of "the greatest," the poet Marianne Moore. Let none other than George Plimpton explain it to you.
The biggest release of the week is, of course, the launch of the first Millions Original, Epic Fail (here's our excerpt), by our own Mark O'Connell (We may be a bit biased there). Also out, Sam Roberts's Grand Central, about the iconic train station, and, now available for the first time in a single, massive paperback volume, Haruki Murakami's 1Q84.
In an interesting turn of events, Amazon has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle: Amazon Books. Marketing information from the company’s website will help decide how to stock its shelves. Our own Michael Bourne announces that Amazon has purchased the English language.
Freudians know that Eros and Thanatos are opposites in the human psyche. The former, the love instinct, pushes us to survive, while the latter, the death instinct, pushes us to destruction. In an essay for Bookslut, Jelena Markovic explores the importance of Thanatos in daily life, using as an example a man she knew with an “instinct for nonexistence.”
Happy first birthday to Emily Books! The Observer ran a little recap of the book club-slash-store's lascivious first anniversary party, where Kate Zambreno and Tamara Faith Berger both read from their recent novels. Here's the Million's interview with Zambreno, and here's a #LitBeat from one of Berger's previous readings from her steamy wonder of a novel, Maidenhead.