“The internet teems with writerly advice, almost all of which suggests that creativity is served best by monasticism, a quiet life filled with pencils—but that kind of advice seems to take a very short view of history, overlooking the one classic way to rouse the capricious Muses: sexually transmitted disease.” According to The Hairpin, maybe it’s not an MFA you need, just syphilis. After all, it seems to have worked for James Joyce, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Oscar Wilde and many, many others.
New this week is Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages, while John Banville (writing as Benjamin Black) is out with Vengeance. Also new on shelves: Aftermath, a memoir by Rachel Cusk; Peter Heller’s post-apocalyptic debut novel The Dog Stars; David Gillham’s novel of WWII Berlin, City of Women; and In the Shadow of the Banyan, Vaddey Ratner’s novel set in the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge. Out in paperback are Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son and Edie Meidav’s Lola, California.
Recommended (Revolutionary) Reading: On why Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics remains so relevant to today’s most heated literary arguments, despite its being nearly fifty years old at this point.
“Maybe I’m not outraged. I’m exhausted and open and exposed and a lot of other people are too because we are wounds that get picked at and picked at and picked at one day, there won’t be anything left to heal.” At The Rumpus, Roxane Gay writes on the sexism and racism of Seth MacFarlane’s Oscars jokes.