“I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends.” Go and check out this fascinating profile of Ben Rhodes, the “Boy Wonder of the Obama Whitehouse,” who dropped out of his second year at NYU’s M.F.A. program after witnessing the attacks on September 11th to take up a life of international affairs and foreign policy. When asked about whom he would choose write the story of his work life, Rhodes picked novelist Don DeLillo: “He is the only person I can think of who has confronted these questions of, you know, the individual who finds himself negotiating both vast currents of history and a very specific kind of power dynamics. That’s his milieu. And that’s what it’s like to work in the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus in 2016.”
New this week: Pushkin Hills by Sergei Dovlatov; The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger; Hyde by Daniel Levine; Cambridge by Girl, Interrupted author Susanna Kaysen; Decoded by Mai Jia; Visible City by Tova Mirvis; The Moon Before Morning by W.S. Merwin; and Caribou by Charles Wright.
There’s just something about David Foster Wallace‘s writing that makes people want to adapt it. We’ve written about this phenomenon before – there have been Infinite Jest-inspired radio tributes and music videos, series of illustrations, even a novel-in-legos. Interest in adapting Wallace’s work doesn’t seem to be slowing, and earlier this month Public Theatre put on an experimental performance of passages of his writing and interviews, A (Radically Condensed and Expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, which both Salon and Hyperallergic reviewed.
The folks at Harper’s Bazaar (not Harper’s Magazine) are launching a new short story competition, and the grand prize is wild: an all-expenses-paid weeklong stay on a private Scottish island, publication in the May 2014 issue of the magazine and a first-edition book from the Asprey’s Fine and Rare Books Department, worth up to £3,000. (And yes, that’s pounds, not dollars.)
“I’ve never actually read the books that I’ve blurbed.” – Nick Tosches in BookforumThat terrific Kenneth Tynan piece on Johnny Carson that Tingle was looking for.Want to bone up on philosophy, but can’t quite find the time? Try Squashed Philosophers.The CS Monitor gives capsule reviews of the NBCC fiction finalists, in case you didn’t get to any of them.O, Brother, Where Art Thou? Oh Right, Everywhere: Discarded titles for George Orwell’s 1984 at McSweeney’s (via Kottke).David Sedaris’ recommended reading list
Following their prosecution for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” against the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian punk group Pussy Riot has been dispatched to correctional colony IK 14. As it happens, the colony is particularly religious. Coincidence? Judith Pallot is skeptical.