Though Mark Twain first gained notoriety after publishing an essay about a famous jumping frog, the onetime Samuel Clemens didn’t really hit his stride until he became a public speaker, as the money he accrued from reading in front of audiences gave him a steady source of income. At Salon, Ben Tarnoff recounts Twain’s journey to the podium, one laid out more broadly in Tarnoff’s book about a group of San Francisco writers.
“Poetry is not connected to my professional work – it is my personal world,” says India’s newly-appointed ambassador to Argentina, Amarendra Khatua. Indeed, Khatua’s but the latest high-profile figure in Indian government to turn to creative writing to seek “emotional refuge” and a means of “battl[ing] workplace blues and the stress of decision making.”
Jonathan Lethem thinks his work is taken too seriously. “Well, I was just watching Richard Pryor, and he says, ‘When you’re dating a white woman, and people don’t like it, you can’t really pretend. You can’t go, “Oh, she’s not with me.”‘ ‘You write the big, ambitious books, right?’ Well, I guess they are,” he said in an interview with Salon. He also discusses being equated with Jonathan Franzen and his new novel, Dissident Gardens.
If you’re the kind of person who might fall asleep while reading a page-turner, you’re not alone. For Read It Forward, Jonathan Russell Clark writes about the challenge of literary sleepiness. For more of his writing, check out his essay on the art of the final sentence for The Millions.
Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Quentin Tarantino in The Atlantic and writes about why Inglorious Basterds is a very un-Jewish treatment of rage toward Nazis.