New releases this week include the much-hyped The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I. Also out in nonfiction is President Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit), as reviewed by the New York Times, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, and, for hip-hop fans, Jay-Z’s memoir Decoded.
Has Edward St. Aubyn killed the existentialist novel? Jacob Kiernan at Full Stop Magazine has a few ideas about it. If it’s existential quandary you’re after, this essay for The Millions on the beautiful afterlife of books–which may not be so much of an afterlife, after all–will be perfect for you.
“Of course, his word-pictures don’t define the art of poetry—nor are they meant to. In part they exemplify it; in part provide a warning that such an art eludes straightforward setting out in words.” On Horace’s and Archibald MacLeish’s Ars Poetica.
“[W]e can confirm that there is no place on Earth (not even Antarctica) that literature isn’t written.” Michael Barron, the U.S. literary editor for Culture Trip, curates “The Global Anthology,” an online project showcasing more than 220 pieces of literature from all over the world written in or translated into English (via Moby Lives).
Lucy Madison asks how the 25 National Magazine Award nominations went to 25 male writers and discovers it may be because fewer women write long-form journalism, “particularly at those publications that tend to get nominated for National Magazine Awards.”
You may have heard that X-Files star David Duchovny published a novel last week. The
book, which developed out of an idea Duchovny had in college, centers on a teenage cow named Elsie who befriends a Yiddish-speaking pig. At Salon, Anna Silman interviews the actor/author, who talks about his book’s allegorical nature and his rumored beef with Vancouver.