In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
In The New York Times, Anne Lamott (of Bird by Bird fame) reveals the one book she’d recommend to President Obama. It might not surprise many readers of her memoir that her choice -- Anti-California: Report from our First Parafascist State -- is a nonfiction book by her father.
Literary Twitter has been on fire with #ManlyBookClubNames since The New York Times style section reported that apparently men have book clubs, too. “Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity.” If you’re looking for a book club, consider joining Adam Boretz’s Football Book Club.
When did Twitter turn into a place of public shame, outrage, and apology? Alexander Chee examines the changing culture in an essay for Dame Magazine. "Oh, Internet, place of the ultimate writerly paradox, where things you write quickly for little or no money last forever." Our own Mark O'Connell explored something similar in his New Yorker essay on the public humiliation of regrettable tweets.
"[Mark] Twain wasn’t above the contrivances of capitalism, even as he skewered them. . . From nonage to dotage, in dire straits or in the pink, he was always a capricious entrepreneur, counting the zeroes on an imaginary balance sheet." The New Yorker writes about the humor writer's many failed attempts to get very rich. From our archives: Twain and the Wild West.