I’m disappointed that I was only able to get 8/12 correct on the Guardian’s “Who’s the Poet: Pamela Anderson or Sylvia Plath” quiz, but I’m consoling myself with the fact that the 50% is the average.
In his new book, one of three coming out now or soon, Australian poet Clive James assembles his decades of knowledge into a series of mini-essays, many of which originally appeared in Poetry magazine. At Slate, Katy Waldman reads the collection, explaining why it gave her the urge to quote James ad infinitum. You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on the poet’s book Cultural Amnesia.
Chris Rose laments the erosion of his former employer, New Orleans’s Times-Picayune, in the pages of Oxford American’s New South Journalism issue. Meanwhile, James Pogue discusses the art of fact-checking, which he says “has recently become a voguish topic among the New Yorker-reading and NPR-listening set.” This is of course to say nothing of the London Review of Books-reading set across the pond as well, much less the Onion-reading set located far and wide.
The Imperfectionists author and Year in Reading alum Tom Rachman has a new novel on shelves this week, as does Orson Scott Card. Also out: Eyrie by Tim Winton; O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn; So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan; Stars Go Blue by Laura Pritchett; Third Rail by Rory Flynn; and Time of the Locust by Morowa Yejide.
In more “Dylan at 70” news, the knowledgeable Ed Ward reviews the compilation How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan for The Oxford American. (Editor’s Note: The omission from this album of Nina Simone‘s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and Ben E. King‘s “Lay Lady Lay” are both unconscionable.)
The bookstore business is supposed to be dying, but Ann Patchett begs to differ. She discussed her independent shop, Parnassus Books, and the future of bookstores for The Daily Beast’s “How I Write” series. “I can’t remember the last time I was in a bad bookstore. The future of independent bookstores is strong. We need to be small. The day of the 30,000 square foot bookstore is over, but the day of the 3000 square foot bookstore has arrived.” Patchett was also interviewed for The New York Times “By the Book” series, where she said Charlotte’s Web had such an impact on her as a kid that she got a pet pig and became a vegetarian.
“Is this skyscraper autobiographical?” People say some pretty ridiculous things about writing. To put it in perspective, Mallory Ortberg presents “If We Talked About Architecture Like We Talk About Writing.”