Fact or Fiction: Smoking makes you look cool. According to Christopher Urban at The Paris Review, it’s an inarguable fact. Now at least let him defend himself. How cool does young Raymond Carver sound with his candy Lucky Strike?
We have some bad news, writers. People actually dislike creative thinking. Despite how society celebrates creativity, most people are too risk averse to appreciate it, studies indicate. What’s the upside? Social rejection can bolster your creativity, but most writers probably knew that already.
The Guardian‘s Books Blog is hosting a tournament to determine “The Great American Novelist,” and the list of the final 32 seeded contenders, as voted by the site’s readers, is enough to raise some eyebrows—not as much for who did make the cut as for who didn’t. Guardian readers, haven’t you heard of Richard Yates?
New this week: Salman Rushdie’s much talked about memoir Joseph Anton, T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel, The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore, and Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting prequel Skagboys. Also new this week: Paul Elie’s Reinventing Bach, Sylvie Simmons’s biography I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, and n+1 vet Marco Roth’s memoir The Scientists.