“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.
One Goodreads vigilante has created a master list of authors notorious for responding immaturely or meanly to negative reviews of their work. Elsewhere, iDreamBooks, a new Rotten Tomatoes-type service, was launched. The site aggregates critics’ book reviews and shows you what to read next.
The O.E.D., the ultimate bibliophile’s extravagance may never again appear in a new print edition, according to the New York Times. (via)”The most talked about books of the 2008 spring season,” according to European newspapers.Like Kennedy buffs hunched over stills from the Zapruder film, Bolaño enthusiasts may find themselves scrutinizing the cover design for 2666 (featured on the back flap of the galley).Wyatt Mason, one of America’s best critics, enters the blog fray. As does The New Yorker.”The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth.“
Have you ever wondered how Kafka’s The Trial would translate in music? Philip Glass adapted the novel, and more, to music. Read about other music inspired by literature at Ploughshares. For more on music and literature, check out our Torch Ballads and Jukebox Music column.
“This is how he justified what he did even as he knew what kind of parent he’d become, the kind that used to make him gag as recently as two months ago. The ones who blithely assumed their online friends were gluttons for punishment. Here’s my baby lying on his back! And here’s my baby also lying on his back! And how about this one: blurry baby on his back! Good God, the vanity of it all, the epic self-centeredness. He knew all this, and still he uploaded eleven pictures of Brian.” An excerpt of Victor LaValle’s new novel The Changeling. (You could also read our interview with the author from last year.)
When did Samuel Beckett’s “fail better” become the motto of Silicon Valley? At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell traces the history of the phrase. “Fail Better, with its TEDishly counterintuitive feel, is the literary takeaway par excellence; it’s usefully suggestive, too, of the corporate propaganda of productivity, with its appeals to ‘think different’ or ‘work smarter’ or ‘just do it.'”
“The reality of being a librarian is that it’s hardly ever about sitting down and it has absolutely nothing to do with peace and quiet.” Lit Hub launched Tales of the Library, a new bimonthly column, by Kristen Arnett. From our archives: an essay about libraries and homelessness.