Recommended Reading: Teju Cole meditates on the destruction of the Baalshamin temple in Palmyra, Syria at The New Inquiry. “The destruction of a ruin is like the desecration of a body. It is a vengeance wreaked on the past in order to embitter the future.“
"I have wasted my life." Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring takes a look at James Wright's "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota" and the many interpretations readers have brought to its famous last line. Among those readers is David Mitchell, who wrote about the same poem in an essay for The Atlantic's By Heart series earlier this year.
“In the morning, before we left, we presented my aunt with a gift from Indonesia, a package of luwak, one of four in Bon’s duffel. Civet coffee? she said, bemused. We were already savoring cups of coffee at her table, brewed in her coffee press from Arabica beans of her own supply.” An excerpt from Year in Reading alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen's forthcoming novel appears in the new issue of Ploughshares.
This one goes out to all the visual learners out there. Here's a helpful, illustrated guide to writing scenes and stories with Jeff VanderMeer, author of the bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy. Bonus: here's an interview by VanderMeer with author Richard House from earlier this year.
The Times is reporting that bestselling author Tom Clancy has died. The Baltimore native, who became famous for writing novels (including The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears) that inspired blockbuster movies, passed away last night in Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 66. (His next book, Command Authority, is planned for publication on December 3.)