In a time of crisis, any decision is better than no decision at all. That line–credited to Theodore Roosevelt–is pop conventional wisdom. An excellent piece at Aeon explores the full implications of the line, and may just convince you that your next impossible choice should be made by a soothsayer, a lottery, or a flipped coin.
Franz Kafka liked to drink milk as he wrote. Walt Whitman liked a breakfast of cold meat and oysters. Marcel Proust was an espresso addict. This info graphic from The New York Times raises the question: what do you snack on as you write? You might also want to snack as you read that article, so check out our own Lydia Kiesling‘s piece from last April.
“I preach the radio. I do not preach thinking you must know what you are about. Faulkner had good drugs and a big radio. I recall having heard my own little radio at times. It is rare, yes, and it is, now, rarer. But you are young and have your juice, you’re still full of poop, which is the necessary requisite to tuning the radio. Got to be some poop out there, on the airwaves, or in there, in you, for you to tune it in. Cherish the poop you are full of, and work on excreting it with sound fundamentals. End of tantric wisdom.” The ever-entertaining Padgett Powell was interviewed over at LitHub for the release of his new book, Cries for Help, Various.
Some of the most revered literary novels that have appeared in recent years will be adapted for television. Jonathon Sturgeon writes for Flavorwire, “What do we call this new relationship between prestige and streaming TV and the literary novel? The two now shape each other in peculiar, formal ways—like lovers who share an apartment, they’ve started speaking and looking alike.” Pair with this Millions piece on literary magazines in film and TV.
“Much has been made of the seemingly prophetic nature of Verne’s lunar stories: elements such as the distance and time to reach the moon, and even the launch and landing sites for the mission fall very closely to what actually happened during NASA’s Apollo program.” On the prophetic and historical power of Jules Verne‘s science fiction novels, including the works that later inspired the space program.
“While the revolutionary milieu that was the source of many of the book’s events may have vanished, we have our own milieu.” At The Rumpus, Will Augerot re-evaluates John Dos Passos’s The USA Trilogy. He concludes that Dos Passos is more relevant than ever. Pair with: Our essay on the polyphonic novel.
Many people, cities, and states recognized Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day on Monday. The New Inquiry takes a look at indigenous history in America. Pair with our review of Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account, which “underscores the notion that history often dismisses crucial voices.”
“Their deliberately childless life, their cat, Converse (named not for the shoe but for the political scientist), their free-range beef and nights and weekends of reading and grading and high-quality television series—it was fine and a little horrible. She gets it.” It shouldn’t take much convincing to get you to go and read some new fiction by Curtis Sittenfeld, Gender Studies, over at The New Yorker.