This graphic account of the uncomfortable on-stage conversation between Roxane Gay and Erica Jong at this year’s Decatur Book Festival comes from MariNaomi over at Electric Literature. Here are a few essays from The Millions that also deal with race, fatherhood, and fiction.
In an illuminating interview for Slate, James Wood revises his opinion on David Foster Wallace and discusses how aging can change critics. As he puts it, “At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning stuff. I was reading poetry. How did Auden do his stanza forms? And I was trying to copy those. What’s a successful poem, what’s an unsuccessful poem? […] What’s a good sentence? I don’t think I’ve changed. I am as sincerely interested in novels that fail as I am in novels that succeed. I just want to work them out. It’s a pleasure for me actually.” Top it off with Jonathan Russell Clark’s essay on Wood’s The Nearest Thing to Life.
Even though the advice to “kill your darlings” implies editing your writing is a painful process, some writers relish it. At The New York Times, Pamela Erens discusses the pleasures of trimming down her writing. “For every word I cut, I seem to have more space between my ribs, more lung capacity.” For more Erens, read her essay on accepting her book cover.
To be or not to be, that is the question about British politician Boris Johnson’s long-awaited biography of Shakespeare, Shakespeare: The Riddle of Genius. Initially slated for release this October, publisher Hodder & Stoughton has just announced that — amid reports of last-minute, desperate pleas for help from prominent Shakespeare scholars — the book has been put on ice indefinitely.
Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the 21st Century, has said that he drew inspiration from the social-criticism novels of Austen, Dickens, and Balzac. According to the LA Review of Books, the new Gilded Age that Piketty critiques has generated–and will continue to generate–social novels of its own.