“The terrible thing is that the reality behind these words depends ultimately on what the human being (meaning every single one of us) believes to be real. The terrible thing is that the reality behind all these words depends on choices one has got to make, for ever and ever and ever, every day.” James Baldwin on the artist’s struggle for “integrity.” Here’s a bonus piece from The Millions on Baldwin, race, and fatherhood.
"I guess the book could be read also as poetry, but I just didn’t want to define this book, I didn’t want to put it under any label." The Rumpus interviews Chilean author Alejandro Zambra about his newest book, Multiple Choice. And if you want more Zambra – and believe us, you do – we interviewed him too back in 2011.
No surprise here -- Elena Ferrante fever continues to sweep the literary world. Last week, an Italian historian was forced to deny claims that she was actually the Neapolitan novelist. Now, The Guardian takes a look at the unique history of pseudonyms and posits whether Ferrante's mystery might outlast some famous historical masqueraders. For the unacquainted, here's a quick piece on reading Italy through Ferrante's work.
"Every man or woman who is sane, every man or woman who has the feeling of being a person in the world, and for whom the world means something, every happy person, is in infinite debt to a woman." What would today be without a bit of Mother's Day-inspired Recommended Reading? Head over to Brain Pickings and learn why psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott believes that mothers are so vital.
"The last line of Saul Bellow's 'A Single Dish' is nothing like poetry. I can’t tell you what any single one of those words means. Imagine you’re a lexicographer and you have to define the word that, or how. And on top of this, there’s none of Bellow’s typical play with rhythm and language—it’s almost a non-sentence. And yet, when I get to it in the story, I weep." Ethan Canin at The Atlantic on how Saul Bellow packs so much emotion into a single sentence. Here are a couple Bellow-related Millions links for your perusing pleasure.