“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.
Chances are you’ve heard that in a recent interview, Claire Messud responded to a patronizing question about one of her characters -- “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you?” -- by giving her interviewer a smackdown that resonated across the blogosphere. At Page-Turner, several authors (including Rivka Galchen, Jonathan Franzen and Year in Reading alumna Margaret Atwood) offer their own takes on the matter of "likeability." (There's also this piece by our own Emily St. John Mandel to consider.)
"I don’t know what wave feminism we are in now. Fourth? Fifth? But Ms. Attenberg, it depresses me to no end that the gritty, credible, less kissed-by-God heroine of your book, Andrea Bern, a single, childless, 39-year-old straight woman, a character created almost 50 years after Mary Richards, is still realistically struggling with and defying convention because she isn’t married." On Jami Attenberg's new novel.
Friend of The Millions Edan Lepucki has a short story in the most recent LA Times West Magazine, "Salt Lick". Congrats!I've heard of publishers throwing in a free bookmark to help sell copies of a new book, but gold?Oriani Fallaci, the fiery (and athiest) Italian journalist who recently passed away, bequethed her library to a Pontifical university.Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam takes the Sony Reader for a spin and isn't impressed.Did you know that among this year's finalists is the first graphic novel ever to be in the running for a National Book Award? Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese has been given that honor. "I can't say it's a dream come true, because it never even would have occurred to me to dream it. It wasn't in my reality," Yang says.John Hodgman is at it again with one of the more antic Washington Post chats I've ever encountered. (via Books are my only friends)
"A dark and insane fantasy about the players large and small who populated our post-9/11 landscape, it's not just the book we've maybe wanted but possibly the book we've needed — a strange lens to help us understand who we were, what we've done and who we may yet become." Nathan Deuel reviews Mark Doten's The Infernal (which Adam Fleming Petty reviewed for the Millions here) for the LA Times.