“Mr. Walt Whitman has imagined that a certain amount of violent sympathy with the great deeds and sufferings of our soldiers, and of admiration for our national energy, together with a ready command of picturesque language, are sufficient inspiration for a poet. If this were the case, we had been a nation of poets.” A young Henry James reviews Whitman’s Drum Taps.
"To some degree, as I move outside of the exclusive genre audience, the exclusive genre issues don’t bother me as much." The Atlantic talks with N.K. Jemisin, the first black writer to win speculative fiction's Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Fifth Season. We wrote about Jemisin's work when she was nominated for the Hugos a few years back.
"Any day’s news supplies plots so fantastic that most make-believe story lines pale in comparison." Author John Altman in the LA Times about the difficulty of writing fiction during Trump's presidency. "My current novel-in-progress concerns North Korea," writes Altman, "and each day’s headlines endanger its premise. But too much second-guessing hobbles a writer. One can only take a deep breath, remind oneself that war with North Korea would jeopardize much more than a humble spy thriller, and forge ahead, hoping for the best."
"And so the book we have available to us is not the one she intended for us to see — and to those who knew her only as the private spouse of a public figure, Michelle McNamara emerges from these pages as much of a mystery as the Golden State Killer does, gone in the dark." In Vulture, a profile of the late true crime writer Michelle McNamara whose book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, was published last week. From our archives: an essay on why one writer reads true crime novels.
There’s a reason Hemingway and Fitzgerald are usually thought of as being opposites on the masculinity spectrum. Hemingway, he of the grand works about boxing and bullfighting, is perhaps the patron saint of literary manhood, while Fitzgerald was often the definition of refinement. Yet their actual identities were a little more complicated than our images of them suggest. At The Paris Review Daily, a look at how they were thought of as “real men” -- or not.
Book Riot has compiled a list of Roxane Gay’s recommended reads via Twitter. Some of her choices include Citizen by Claudia Rankine, God Help the Child by Toni Morrison, and City on Fire by our own Garth Risk Hallberg. See more books Gay recommends in our Year in Reading column.
With the help of Johnny Depp, author Douglas Brinkley plans to release Woody Guthrie’s unpublished novel House of Earth next year. Guthrie finished the manuscript—which should yield a finished book about 250-pages long—in 1947, and it concerns a couple from West Texas who fight against banks and lumber companies.