The By the Book series at the Times has produced some pretty great entries, but we have a feeling that Colson Whitehead may go down as its best interviewee. Why do we say this? Well, it might have something to do with his weeping fit in a Chelsea Dallas BBQ, prompted by an early scene in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
“It is a superstitious business—childish, really—the marking, or even the noticing, of anniversaries like these. Such fastening pretends that one day can be like another, pretends that every day is not, ultimately, only its own day, the only version of itself that will ever come. But ‘Daddy’ is itself a poem built on a bedrock of anniversaries.” At The Paris Review Daily, Belinda McKeon marks the birthday of an oft-revered poem.
“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.
“Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings charts “the wide, weird world of geography” in his latest book Maphead. NPR investigates his process in a “Fresh Air” interview. Scribner Books provides a small sample as well. While discussing the particulars of America’s “Road Geeks,” Jennings makes it clear to this listener that he’d probably be interested in Cynthia Enloe and Joni Seager’s The Real State of America Atlas, which was reviewed by our own Bill Morris last July.
Need something to complement our profile of Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie today? Then try this on for size: Year in Reading alum Emily Gould conducts an interview with the author at The Rumpus. Among other things, they talk about historical fiction, writing quickly and doing research on the Lower East Side.
The relationship between poetry and science is more inextricably (and historically) linked than you might imagine: “In the late 1700s, scientific treatises were written in poetic form because poetry was considered the language of intellect and the future.”
Best selling author Elena Ferrante will be a new weekend columnist for the Guardian magazine. Why did she decide to go this route in addition to writing a screenplay? Read her reasoning and pair with this essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s work.