Recommended listening: Benjamin Percy, whose novel The Dead Lands was released just this week, sings “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Writers” for the debut episode of Poets & Writers‘s new podcast, Ampersand.
“This question of presence seems crucial to Tillman’s project. Her position in a text is tricky—she operates both inside and outside of it, which allows her to thwart distanced critical authority and also perform the aesthetic slippages she admires in others’ work.” On Lynne Tillman’s new story collection.
“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.
“One hears, in the news, that one new fad after another is sweeping the academy. World literature, digital humanities, book history, cognitive science. Perhaps everyone will just watch TV (there are twenty-seven panels on The Wire, and at least a paper, I recall, on Rizzoli and Isles, a TNT show)…The elephant in the room, or the one that has left the room a while ago (but whose stinking presence everyone still inhales deeply or holds their nose after), is Theory.” N + 1 reviews MLA 2013.
Attention literature-lovers and burrito-consumers: Chipotle has announced the second batch of writers, including Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan, and Neil Gaiman, for its Cultivating Thought series, which places short pieces of writing on soda cups and paper bags (we covered the first series here).
The New York Times‘ executive editor Bill Keller caused an uproar three months ago when he railed against Twitter and, specifically, how it was making us all dumb. (Or, after being challenged, was it for some other reason?) This month, he rails against his staff of reporters because they want to write books.
To honor Peter Matthiessen, who passed away over the weekend, The New Yorker unlocked part of one of the author’s best pieces of travel writing. The piece, titled “The Last Wilderness,” follows Matthiessen as he travels down the Amazon River. (His last novel comes out this week, as well.)