At 74, Clive James is a remarkably prolific poet, one who’s working hard to finish or publish three books in the next year alone. He spoke with Douglas Murray of The Spectator about his unflagging energy. “At the moment, I am in the slightly embarrassing position where I write poems saying I am about to die and I don’t,” he says. You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on James’s book Cultural Amnesia.
Here’s a treat for all you literary legal buffs. A judge in the Middle District of Florida denied a request for a continuance in a murder-for-hire trial. But wait, it gets better. The defense attorney, Frank Louderback, is a perennial contestant in Hemingway Look-alike Society’s annual Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest, held in Key West each year, and the purpose of Louderback’s continuance was so he could travel to the Conch Republic for the competition. The judge denied the order by citing Big Papa himself. (via Nate Harris)
Why did Richard Brautigan’s friends eventually stop inviting him to parties? Was it because he got drunk? Was it because he brought too many friends? Or was it because, as Michael LaPointe suggests in his review of Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan, he liked to pack a revolver?
A U.S. Navy commodore’s 1823 General Order announcing the imminent seizure of Key West – at the time known as Allenton – has been obtained, along with “1,000 other pieces of the island’s history,” by the Monroe County Public Library. The collection also includes a book from 1858 written by William Curry, “a penniless Bahamian immigrant who became Florida’s first millionaire.” Best of all? You can view some of the cache online.
New this week: Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood; The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters; My Life as a Foreign Country by Brian Turner; Wallflowers by Eliza Robertson; On Bittersweet Place by Ronna Wineberg; Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce; In the Red by Elena Mauli Shapiro; and Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Year in Reading alumnus Jonathan Safran Foer and Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman have been exchanging emails for over a decade. Over at The New York Times Magazine, they share their recent correspondence on how things have changed since the beginning of their friendship.