Christopher Lee, perhaps best known to American audiences as the man who played Count Dooku (Star Wars) and Saruman (Lord of the Rings), is also an accomplished singer and musician. Evidently, he’s also quite literary, as his most recent project — The Metal Knight — demonstrates. To wit: the album was inspired by Don Quixote. (Trailer here.)
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska's prairies played in Willa Cather's writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. "From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. "
As part of their 80th anniversary celebration, the Academy of American Poets recently revamped their website. The updated website now boasts such features as “geographically relevant information (such as local poetry events),” “interviews with renowned poets,” and “free lesson plans tailored for K-12 teachers.” Go take a look for yourself. I recommend starting with Sally Van Doren’s poem, “Thief.”
Last week, I pointed readers to an article about Michael Faber’s latest book and his decision to quit writing fiction. Now, in the Times Book Review, Marcel Theroux sizes up the novel, writing that “the reader is drawn through the book effortlessly, by the combination of incidental strangeness and the suspenseful handling of plot.”
"The lie I told most often in my twenties during the Reagan era was that I liked other people’s children although I didn’t intend to have my own." For The Rumpus, Kyoko Mori writes an essay on the choice to raise animals instead of children. Pair with: an essay on the complexities of motherhood.
The number of options presented to people dating today can be overwhelming and sometimes weird. Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine touches on this subject, posing “questions about wanting and having and bodies and food and sex that often arise in discussions about how people date today.” Natasha Lewis reviews the book in The New Republic.
As the lone mental hospital in The Magic Mountain referred to by its real name, the Hotel Schatzalp is a holy site for many Thomas Mann scholars and fans. At Page-Turner, Sally McGrane writes about the modern hotel, which employs a staff trained to deal with the occasional “literary fanatic.” (It also might be a good time to read Matthew Gallaway on Death in Venice.)