The LA Times has a review up of Eula Biss‘s On Immunity: An Innoculation, an “elegant, intelligent and very beautiful book, which occupies a space between research and reflection.” We covered the collection in our Second-Half 2014 Book Preview, and Biss’s first book, Notes from No Man’s Land, has appeared in several Millions pieces over the last few years.
The second round of the Tournament of Literary Sex Writing, the aptly-named Erotic Eight, has kicked off over at The Literary Hub. This round is home to some downright ridiculous pairings (I’m looking at you, “Bram Stoker vs. James Baldwin as judged by Roxane Gay“) and the judges are as careful and attentive as ever.
Jim Harrison, outdoorsman and author of Legends of the Fall, has passed away at 78. Harrison was a prolific writer whose lust for life was evident in the scores of essay and poetry collections he published during the course of his career. Our own Bill Morris has some thoughts on why Harrison never managed to garner the audience that a writer of his caliber deserved.
In most portrayals of Cold War espionage, both Communist and capitalist spies appear wedded to their respective ideologies. Yet real spies, as the FBI knows, often have more nebulous motivations. In the Times Book Review, Ben MacIntyre reads the latest by Ha Jin, which centers on a Chinese spy embedded in suburban Virginia.
Los Angeles-based Millions readers might be interested in some upcoming readings/events with Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch, the authors of Ten Walks/Two Talks. They’ll be at The Public School with Grace Krilanovich on Saturday, 12/11, at Family with Maggie Nelson on Sunday, 12/12, and at Book Soup with Tom Lutz on Thursday, 12/16.
“The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight and vain in comparison. If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.” Year in Reading alumna Sarah Manguso on envy and the purpose of writing. Pair with Jaime Green’s Millions review of Manguso’s Ongoingness.