Literary fame is a knotty thing. It’s hard to predict exactly who will be known for centuries, and why. William Wordsworth, for example, owes at least part of his fame to the Lake District, which started to use him in their tourist campaigns not long after his death. In The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman takes a look at H.J. Jackson’s Those Who Write for Immortality. Related: Gina Fattore’s recent essay on fame and money.
Meet Shondaland, a new website created by Shonda Rhimes and dedicated to storytelling that launched this week. One of their most recent posts highlights 28 books to read this fall. We know there's a lot of reading recommendation lists around this time of year (like our September preview) but we appreciate the diversity of this list in particular and its willingness to hold back judgment if we don't finish all the suggestions. Pair with our interview with Jesmyn Ward (whose Sing, Unburied Sing made the list), along with Year in Reading alum Eleanor Henderson's Twelve Mile Straight.
Former President Bill Clinton and best-selling powerhouse James Patterson's upcoming novel, The President is Missing, has been acquired as a Showtime television series, according to Vulture. There are few details about the series because the thriller won't be released until June 2018. See also: our own Bill Morris on reading Patterson for the first time.
Koa Beck’s father gave her a copy of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying when she was 15 years old. Depending on your persuasion, this was either a brilliant idea or an awful parental blunder. Regardless, Beck says the book (aided by The Bell Jar and Diary of a Mad Housewife) helped her understand that “the game was rigged, that everyone was lying, [and] that there was so much more to being a woman than what society said there was.”
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.