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.”
“In order to overcome their creative challenges, the authors I interviewed didn’t need to write prettier sentences: They needed to become more disciplined, more generous, braver. Literature seems to require these qualities of us, somehow, both in writing and in reading.” Joe Fassler‘s “By Heart” series at The Atlantic provides us with another year’s worth of writing wisdom, including advice from Alexander Chee, Michael Chabon, Lydia Millet, et al. We also highly recommend the conversation between Chee, Emily Barton, and Whitney Terrell about the decade each of them took to see their novels realized in the world.
“The short story is an odd form, forever dying out or undergoing a revival, impossible to define, sometimes seeming to be united by being nothing more than a text which happens to occupy around thirty pages or less: novels for people who can’t be arsed reading novels. Yet the best stories in both of these books show what the form is capable of: the world reflected in a puddle, the light gleaming for an instant, fireflies.” C.D. Rose reviews New American Stories, edited by Ben Marcus, for 3:AM Magazine.
“I’ve spent my whole professional life swirling the eddies of the margins… What I want right now is to see my book in an airport. Then in a couple of years everyone will figure out that I’m too esoteric, and I’ll be back…” The New York Times posts a curious interview with the unconventional Jaimy Gordon, winner of this year’s National Book Award.
“The ideas people project onto me are just that: their projections. And to a certain extent I can choose whether or not to accept them. But these projections also put me in peril, which is why I need to cultivate love. What’s more interesting to me is how I overcome the limiting biases that are projected onto me. If I didn’t discover positive paths, my experiences — and books — would be unbearably devastating. I am always more concerned with the path toward hope and change.”
Camille Dungy, esteemed poet and essayist in Sun Magazine answering the big questions on the environment, race, religion and Trump.
This week in news that’s almost impossible to believe: after an intense bidding war, the rights to David Grann’s upcoming book Killers of the Flower Moon were bought by Imperative Entertainment for a whopping five million dollars. All this for a nonfiction book that isn’t due out for well over a year. Killers of the Flower Moon tells the story of the investigation into the mysterious deaths of several Osage Indians in the 1920s, who were at the time some of the wealthiest people in the world. The case was one of the first ever worked by the FBI.
Author Jim Crace reflects on his final book in Abu Dhabi’s The National: “The thing is, I’ve written an appalling amount of books. … The writing life doesn’t last forever. I am fit and well, and there are plenty of other things to do that I’m excited about, which are incompatible with spending most of my life shut up in a room. So that’s what I’m going to do, write a final book, and that will be it.”