Is “the two-person collaboration… the essential creative act”? Joshua Wolf Shenk thinks so, and he’s written a book defending his position, aptly titled The Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney are his primary examples and the root of his argument, famous author duos are also referenced – C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, for one. Shenk even “works to transform even famously lonely figures — Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King Jr. — into one side of a duet.” Consider us skeptical but intrigued.
Quarry, The final book of Iain M. Banks, who died this month, is now out. Also out: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld, On the Floor by Afric Campbell, and, as an “e-single” spin-off to his bestseller Rules of Civility, Amor Towles is out with Eve in Hollywood.
The latest in virtual author appearances, an especially useful option for literary venues in the snowy midwest during winter: Hannah Tinti on Skype (audio and video) in Minneapolis via the Magers & Quinn “Books & Bars” Book Club series.
Colm Tóibín’s new collection The Empty Family is out today, as is comedian Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. New in paperback: 2010 fave The Imperfectionists. Many more new books to look forward to, of course, in our massive preview published this week.
“[Virginie] Despentes has become a kind of cult hero, a patron saint to invisible women: the monstrous and marginalized, the sodden, weary and wildly unemployable, the kind of woman who can scarcely be propped up let alone persuaded to lean in.” On Virginie Despentes’s Bye Bye Blondie and French feminist pulp that pulls no punches.
With the season five premiere of Mad Men fast approaching, now’s as good a time as any to catch up on the intimate commingling of its main characters. Fortunately, the folks at Wired have organized the whole thing into a neat “Illustrated Guide to Mad Men Bed-Hopping.”