The F.B.I. had a massive file on James Baldwin in the fifties and sixties. Among other things, their notes featured passages of surprisingly adept criticism, including an oddly in-depth look at sexuality in his work. You could also read Justin Campbell on race, fatherhood and Baldwin’s fiction.
In The Morning News, Jessica Francis Kane asks where is the line drawn between literary fiction and historical fiction; why is historical fiction maligned; and what happens when you write a novel and one of the characters attends your reading?
Planning on writing a prison scene? Worried your characters might sound a bit unrealistic? Then see if you can get your hands on the Bonne Terre dictionary. Written by inmates at a prison in Louisiana, the dictionary includes such idiosyncratic terms as “boat,” meaning a plastic bed, and “pumpkin,” meaning a new inmate.
Even those who detest the sport can feel the joys of reading Roger Angell’s baseball writing. Case in point: his latest dispatch, in which he remarks on a recent triple play by saying, “What’s great about [triple plays] isn’t really their scarcity but the fact that they beautifully illustrate the invisible force that hovers about each pitch and play and inning and game in this pausing, staccato, and inexorably accruing pastime: the laws of chance.”