“I was being paranoid, but those of us who write memoirs should never underestimate the damage they can cause. I’ve seen close relationships rocked by a memoir. I’ve seen parents stop speaking to their children for years. Memoirs pose a natural threat to the family mythology, those portraits framed on the mantel piece that say everyone is happy and nothing is wrong.” Sarah Hepola asks her mother and father what it felt like to be portrayed in her memoir, Blackout.
“Four years after first announcing the decision to open the prize to Americans, the Booker is virtually indistinguishable from its competitors. It is exactly what many feared it would become: corporate and daft.” Alex Shephard writing for The New Republic about why the Man Booker Prize isn’t interesting anymore. Still, should you want to know who’s shortlisted this year, here’s our roundup.
Self-styled music critic Patrick Bateman, the protagonist of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho, certainly had a lot to say about 80s mainstays like Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News. Over at The New Inquiry, J. Temperance argues for Steve Winwood as Patrick Bateman’s musical doppelgänger. Go ahead and take a look at this essay by Bill Morris of The Millions on The Canyons, a film for which Ellis wrote the screenplay.
In his inaugural column for The New York Times Magazine, former New York Magazine critic Sam Anderson expands upon the idea he shared with us in his “Year in Marginalia,” his riff on our big Year in Reading series. And, as a sidebar to Anderson’s column, the Magazine has published a brief excerpt of John Brandon’s compelling essay from The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (perhaps you’ve heard that title mentioned around here lately?)
“Her poems shimmer most when they reflect on the yearning to rebel against the constrained space granted to women’s voices in literature and life.” On her 126th birthday, The Guardian argues that Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s poetry — not her reputation — should be remembered and celebrated. Pair with: an essay on being an uneasy, untamed women writer.
With the frenzied holiday season underway, there aren’t many new releases to look at this week, but there are some newly reissued classics hitting shelves. NYRB Classics has put out Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant and Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman. Vintage, meanwhile, has smart looking new editions of a pair of Somerset Maugham books: The Narrow Corner and A Writer’s Notebook.