On life, love, poetry and Ouija: the New Yorker profiles the life and work of James Merrill.
“Imagination for me has always been about the spaces in between, a sort of filler that completes a picture. If what we know is the jaggedness of the ocean floor, then imagination is the body of water that defines what is hidden and what is seen.” This essay on interstices and representing Hawai’i Creole English as a legitimate literary participant is excellent.
We’ve published a fair number of articles on the issue of finance and employment in a writer’s life. In general, writers assume that the ideal source of income, at least as far as it concerns their own careers, is one that leaves them free of worries and blessed with ample time. In the latest Bookends, Mohsin Hamid and Rivka Galchen tackle a more existential question — do money woes inspire writers to greater heights of creativity?
It’s not every day that fans of a novel look forward to a Lifetime movie, but such is the case for fans of Flowers in the Attic, whose 1987 film adaptation left out many of the details that made the book a “rite of passage for teenage girls in the ‘80s.” At Slate, Tammy Oler delves into the book’s importance and its history on the screen.
It takes a certain skill to link Taipei by Tao Lin, My Struggle Part I and Part II by Karl Ove Knausgaard and an old book on Italian painting in a single essay, but Zadie Smith is (naturally) the writer for the job. In a new piece for The NY Review of Books, she asks the reader to “imagine [a drawing of a corpse] represents an absolute certainty about you, namely, that you will one day be a corpse.”
Most readers have their own idiosyncratic systems for displaying the most valuable titles they own. For a lot of people, it makes the most sense to keep their favorite books on a particular shelf. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein writes about an odd phenomenon — “The Phantom Shelf,” which consists of books you love so much you had to lend them to friends. (Related: Kevin Hartnett on reading our parents’ bookshelves.)