“Once [Jenny] Diski did get going as a writer, she and [Doris] Lessing agreed to a kind of literary nonaggression pact: Lessing would not write about Diski if Diski would not write about Lessing. Even now, I sensed a note of anxiety in Diski’s attitude toward her current project. When I asked her if she had any titles in mind for the finished work, she said: ‘Gratitude.’ Or: ‘Ingratitude.’ I can’t decide which.’”
“We connect with books in an intellectual way, but the most valuable relationships we have with them are emotional; to say that you merely admire or respect a book is, on some level, to insult it. Feelings are so fundamental to literary life that it can be hard to imagine a way of relating to literature that doesn’t involve loving it. Without all those emotions, what would reading be?” Joshua Rothman on “The History of ‘Loving’ to Read.”
“‘I want to meet POETS,’ I typed. Beneath my earnest headline, I described how I yearned for a workshop buddy who wrote contemporary verse, someone who wasn’t afraid to give and accept feedback. I also asked for a sample poem, just to weed out the people I didn’t jive with stylistically.” On forging friendships with poets from Denise K. James at The Rumpus.
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?
Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)