“Today’s vampires have traded their capes for fashionable leather jackets, their claws for manicures.” Becca Rothfeld writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books about the “the distressingly human lives of vampires today.” Pair with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Ethical Vampires” and “Ethical Vampires, part II.”
Most actors don't go on The Tonight Show to promote literature, but leave it to James Franco to be the first to brag about getting his poetry M.F.A. to Jimmy Fallon. He discussed his new book, Directing Herbert White, and his mentor Frank Bidart. For more on the Bidart/Franco friendship, check out our own Janet Potter's recap of attending an event featuring the two writers.
On the NY Daily News' Page Views blog, Alexander Nazaryan writes about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show's most neglected -- yet also most literary -- member breed: the dachshund. "No dog," Nazaryan writes, "has been more widely loved by writers and artists than the dachshund." Comedian Streeter Seidell agrees that the dachshund was slighted, and calls for a "fan favorite" award next year.
In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
Laura Miller of Salon recommends Tana French’s new crime-fiction novel Faithful Place: “makes Philip Marlowe's L.A. look like a church picnic. French herself doesn't play by the rules...” Also out recently is a new edition of James Salter's short story collection Dusk and Other Stories, with a new introduction by former Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch.
Pietru Caxaro composed “Il Cantilena” in the late 15th century, and his poem is widely considered to be the oldest known literary text in the Maltese language. Recently conservator Theresa Zammit Lupi worked to restore the original manuscript’s paper, binding and cover in order to “bring new life” to the historic work. You can read an approximate English translation of the poem courtesy of Wikipedia.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the upcoming Lifetime adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, the novel that Slate writer Tammy Oler called “a rite of passage for teenage girls in the ‘80s.” Now, Willa Paskin reviews the new film, lamenting that it “acts as if it is just another life-affirming Lifetime movie about surviving terrible situations.”