“Life is worth less than a line of Baudelaire’s poetry.” These two lyric essays by Chen Li over at Asymptote Journal are economical and well-worth the read. Though Chen Li is from Taiwan, he writes in Chinese; this syllabus of Chinese writing and the “New China” from Casey Walker at The Millions pairs quite nicely.
After working on his novel Family Life for seven years, Akhil Sharma began to lose his mind. Whenever he sat down to write, he began having panic attacks, the kind that left his chest feeling “constantly bruised” for months on end. Eventually, he hit on a solution: he learned to take his mind off his novel by praying for other people.
Attention New York-based readers: This Friday evening at 7:00, The Millions staff writer Edan Lepucki will read from her novella If You’re Not Yet Like Me at Book Court bookstore in Brooklyn. Joining her will be fellow Flatmancrooked author Shya Scanlon, who will read from his novel, Forecast. Don’t miss it!
In 1908, Leo Tolstoy sent “A Letter to a Hindu” to Tarak Nath Das, a leader of the Indian freedom movement. In it, Tolstoy made the case for nonviolent resistance as the only way for India to gain independence from Britain. You can read the letter, along with Mohandas Gandhi’s introduction, over here.
Blasphemy Alert: They’re giving the film version of August: Osage County a “less downbeat” ending. Curse you, Harvey Weinstein! Is nothing sacred? Can a woman not lament the disintegration of her life, family, and mental stability while the final lines to T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” are read by her housekeeper? Has America gone soft?