If you’ve ever had a successful friend you secretly envied and maybe even hated, you may be in startlingly good company: a new reading of an old letter between Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot indicates that the “flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one” shared exactly this kind of frenemyship. Unrelated: a short recording of Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.”
At The Morning News, a wide-ranging conversation with the writer Philip Graham, most recently the author of The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon. Included is his account of getting a story into the New Yorker off the slush pile, and a footnote touting The Millions and other online literary venues as places to find great book recommendations.
In The New York Times, Dwight Garner reviews John Carey’s biography William Golding: The Man Who Wrote “Lord of the Flies”: “It may not be a surprise to learn that the British novelist … did not have a happy childhood. But the details will put a sweat on your forehead.”
New this week: The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil; The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska by Eileen Curtright; Shock by Shock by Dean Young; The Selected Poems of Donald Hall; and On Cats by Charles Bukowski. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“Listen to what makes your hair stand on end, your heart melt, and your eyes go wide, what stops you in your tracks and makes you want to live, wherever it comes from, and hope that your writing can do all those things for other people. Write for other people, but don’t listen to them too much.” Being a writer is really hard. Fortunately, Very Good Writer Rebecca Solnit is here with ten tips on how to be a better one.
The mystery of the skull that might once have sat between the shoulders of one William Shakespeare will remain unresolved for now. A senior church lawyer for St. Leonard’s Church in Beoley, Redditch, has barred the group of curious clergymen from removing the skull for DNA testing. Alas, poor William.