“I am going to propose: The rigmarole is truly underexploited. Everyone should write a ‘Conversations with Drummond’ about themselves and about every opinion-spouting person they know. For the historical record. For revenge. For the children. Especially if you’re well-known, or right in the middle of the action, or both.” Anthony Madrid for The Paris Review looks at Ben Jonson, William Drummond, and the rigamarole.
Growing up in California, our own Michael Bourne didn’t have a full sense of his own privilege until 1981, when a chance encounter with a group of teenagers dressed up as skeletons woke him up to the realities of segregation in America. In a long essay for Orange Coast Review, he goes over the meaning of that incident, complete with meditations on Marin County, his abandoned early novel and his family’s history in Danville, Virginia. Pair with: Michael’s piece for The Millions on Tess Taylor’s The Forage House.
Read Russia 2012 aims to celebrate contemporary Russian literature and book culture, and they’ve scheduled a bunch of events in the NYC area to coincide with next week’s BEA. You should certainly check them out, as well as NYRB Classics’ ongoing coverage of their own Russian literature highlights. (You can get even more information over here, too.)
“In fact, I think Plath has turned out to be a much better poet than Hughes ever was. Of course he won all the prizes, and his name is on the stones in Poet’s Corner and OK, he’s pretty good, but not that good, whereas she gets better and better.” Granta interviews the critic Al Alvarez, onetime friend of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
Experience “THE POWER OF BOOKS“You know those annoying puzzles where you type in the letters so the computer knows you’re not a computer creating a fake account or sending spam? A group from Carnegie Mellon is using these “Captchas” to help digitize books. ReCaptcha is a special type of Captcha that displays words that book digitization software is having trouble deciphering. So, by letting the computer know you’re not a computer, you can help some other computers digitize our books.I missed Junot Diaz’s appearance at the Free Library of Philadelphia where he read from his new novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but Season Evans was there.
In a piece for The New York Times Jennifer Moses takes a tour of south Louisiana, “a place that produces writers the way France produces cheese — prodigiously, and with world-class excellence — a place that calls on its writers’ talent and inspiration and, in turn, is reflected back into the world through their words,” and of the past haunts of Tennessee Williams, Anne Rice and Kate Chopin.
Whoever decided to sign Noah Baumbach to adapt Claire Messud‘s The Emperor’s Children for the screen has a good feel for the material (Keira Knightley and Eric Bana are also attached). One kind of has to wonder about Richard Gere, though…the Murray Thwaite role is clearly destined for Brian Cox, or vice versa.
Ashwin Sanghi first published his book, The Rozabal Line, on Lulu.com under the anagram Shawn Haigins. A revised edition of the book was published by Westland Ltd. & Tranquebar Press much later, and garnered controversy with readers pointing out similarities between its plot and the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai. Sanghi’s response? “Any book based on research could have real life commonalities.”