A couple months ago, Melville House published a biography of Roberto Bolaño, constructed from interviews the author gave throughout his life. At Full-Stop, Andrew Mitchell Davenport reads the biography, suggesting that the preponderance of myths about the author “makes elucidating Bolaño’s biography a moral issue.” Pair with: our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s Bolaño syllabus.
“Life is worth less than a line of Baudelaire’s poetry.” These two lyric essays by Chen Li over at Asymptote Journal are economical and well-worth the read. Though Chen Li is from Taiwan, he writes in Chinese; this syllabus of Chinese writing and the “New China” from Casey Walker at The Millions pairs quite nicely.
David Foster Wallace has become an American legend in his own right, so it makes sense that he'll be coming to the big screen soon. Jason Segel will play the famous writer in an adaptation of David Lipsky's Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself with Jesse Eisenberg as Lispky. Can one movie handle this much neurosis?
Eve Ewing recently released her debut poetry collection, Electric Arches, and we dubbed it one of our must-read poetry books last month. Year in Reading alum (and another Millions favorite) Kiese Laymon called her for a Guernica magazine interview and the result is a wonderful discussion on shea butter, Jordans, writing with young people as her primary audience and Assata Shakur as a literary inspiration.
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.
In her Shelf Awareness interview, Hilary Mantel admits that Wolf Hall, her recently released Bring Up the Bodies, and the trilogy’s forthcoming conclusion were originally conceived to be one book. That they kept expanding, she says, is “the torment and joy of writing fiction.” Meanwhile, over at The Daily Beast, the English author rounds up her five favorite historical fictions.