“In 1865, Karl Marx confessed that he considered his chief characteristic ‘singleness of purpose,’ and that his favorite occupation was ‘bookworming.’ Five years later, Oscar Wilde wrote in an album called ‘Mental Photographs, an Album for Confessions of Tastes, Habits, and Convictions’ that his distinguishing feature was ‘inordinate self-esteem.'” Over at The New Yorker, take a look at how Marcel Proust’s questionnaires inspired a generation of question-by-by-question introspection.
If you didn’t make it to BEA this year, first be thankful that you didn’t have to eat any of the food around the Javits Center. Then, check out some of the highlights from the comfort of your desk chair. I recommend Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman’s perennially excellent 7x20x21 panel, which this year featured Nate Silver, Dan Wilbur, and Sheila Heti among others.
“The most interesting writers we know, all asking and answering the same question: why can’t we stop watching cat videos?” Coffee House Press one-ups all boring Kickstarter campaigns with Catstarter, a campaign to fund a book on cat videos and “how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all.”
MacArthur Genius™ Deborah Eisenberg, whom we’ve often celebrated here, publishes her 1,000-page Collected Stories this month – we ardently commend it to your attention. If you’ve read ’em all already, get your Eisenberg fix at the NYRB, where she reviews Dezsõ Kosztolányi‘s “quiet, shattering, perfect” novel Skylark.
“We aim to foster a review culture where all genders can write about all topics and be met with equitable coverage.” Launched last year by a group of McGill University students, Just Review is an advocacy project that aims to help publications combat gender bias in the literary and publishing worlds. Would that this weren’t such an evergreen subject.