“I’m the one who gets asked, publicly, how I manage to write and teach and have three kids. Do you get those questions, or do people just assume there is a woman doing all of the homemaking so you can go upstairs and write?” Poets Tracy K. Smith and Gregory Pardlo discuss David Bowie vs. Elton John, the confessional vs. the abstract, and the balance between family and work. Also check out Sophia Nguyen’s Millions review of Smith’s new memoir, Ordinary Light.
Over at Bloom today, a sneak look at an excerpt from Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Sympathizer, featured this week on the cover of the NY Times Sunday Book Review and out April 7. Writes Philip Caputo, Nguyen “brings a distinct perspective” to the Vietnam War that “reaches beyond its historical context to illuminate more universal themes.”
Edith Wharton is known as a novelist but she was also a wonderful hostess, whose guests (including Henry James) remember her as “kindness and hospitality incarnate.” Kate Bolick has turned Wharton’s life-long attempt to master “the complex art of civilized living” into an entertaining guide, “The Guesthouse of Mirth,” just in time for those last few summer parties. Pair with Roxana Robinson‘s reflections on Wharton’s life and works, including the original The House of Mirth.
As part of World Book Night, a UK event designed to bring attention to books for adult readers, a number of famous authors have chosen books that they would recommend to readers. Stephen King’s selection was Hash Kestin’s small press effort The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats. Published by upstart Dzanc Books in the U.S. in 2009, the jolt of publicity generated by the King selection means the book will now be coming out in the UK as well. Our own Emily Mandel wrote a review of the book in 2010, calling it “a gritty enchantment”
Colm Tóibín’s new collection The Empty Family is out today, as is comedian Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. New in paperback: 2010 fave The Imperfectionists. Many more new books to look forward to, of course, in our massive preview published this week.