“[Don] DeLillo’s characters long to penetrate the enigmas and intrigues of his conjured worlds; DeLillo’s readers devour his sentences, images and narratives for what amounts to something similar: for all that DeLillo — the seeker, the prophet, the mystic, the guide — sees.” Don DeLillo has a new book, Zero K, out tomorrow. Go check out this review from The New York Times, and then go take a look at this essay from The Millions’s own Nick Ripatrazone on DeLillo and American athletics.
"We find ourselves in a swarm of fellow starstruck souls outside the Sheraton Hotel on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, churning, squirming." 25 years after the publication of Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe returns to the subject of Wall Street. You can also check out my review of his most recent novel, Back to Blood, over here.
"After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that... our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book." Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and "dedicated amnesia" in Mark Twain's controversial classic.
Is long form nonfiction returning to prominence and popularity? Folks at The LA Times' blog think so. Anna Clark has posted a list of recommended reading for aspiring nonfiction writers, too.
"Any day’s news supplies plots so fantastic that most make-believe story lines pale in comparison." Author John Altman in the LA Times about the difficulty of writing fiction during Trump's presidency. "My current novel-in-progress concerns North Korea," writes Altman, "and each day’s headlines endanger its premise. But too much second-guessing hobbles a writer. One can only take a deep breath, remind oneself that war with North Korea would jeopardize much more than a humble spy thriller, and forge ahead, hoping for the best."
Every year, for six months, a mysterious Twitter account tweets the Walt Whitman book Leaves of Grass in its entirety one line at a time. At The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen profiles the account, which (to the owner's bemusement) is popular among Lana Del Rey fans.
Harvard and MIT are partnering for an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) known as edX. Currently, similar offerings are available from Stanford, Princeton, UPenn, and the University of Michigan. Unfortunately edX and others like it will grade student papers by utilizing “crowd-sourcing” and “natural-language software.” Oh, geeze. Not that again.