At some point, Machiavelli became Machiavellian, which is to say that his personal views evolved into the self-centered credo we recognize. At Salon, an excerpt of a new biography of the writer, which digs up the formative events of his early life.
In The Nation, Mark Oppenheimer reviews Janet Malcolm’s Forty-one False Starts, which includes the New Yorker staff writer’s early works of criticism. The problem, he writes, with her and most Western critics? “She is a snob, but wishes she weren’t.” (ICYMI: we published a review a few weeks ago.)
“I became completely obsessed.” At the 92nd Street Y, Rebecca Skloot shares the story behind her bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, joined by members of the Lacks family and actress Rose Byrne, who plays Skloot in the forthcoming film adaptation of her book. Skloot also discusses how the subject of the book is intimately linked to her own father’s health crisis, which Amy Halloran wrote about in our own pages a few years back.
This week in book-related infographics: Waterstones has put together an illustrated formula for the ultimate bestseller, “a thriller tale of crime, bondage and wizardry.”
My essay on Zadie Foster Franzenides and the current state of literary aesthetics is in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine.