“Since his release, in 2005, he has graduated from the University of Maryland and Warren Wilson College’s low-residency M.F.A. program, been a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard, received an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award, got married, and had two sons. ‘I’ve added some fancy stars … so now I’m like Felon Plus.’” Take a look at this fascinating New Yorker profile of Reginald Dwayne Betts: poet, memoirist, ex-convict-cum-lawyer, and family man.
“As much as I claimed that I read for my own edification, it was a lie. The books I was most drawn to were those that were loved by someone in my life. Reading them, I thought, would teach me all I needed to know about them—nice and safe, from a distance. Reading them with one hand, it was easy to have the other keep them at arm’s length.” Romy Sugden writes for The Oyster Review about trying to connect with her estranged father by reading John le Carré‘s A Perfect Spy.
By now the overlap between writers and drug addicts is pretty well-known, but it wasn’t so well-known back when Thomas De Quincey wrote Confessions of an English Opium Eater. In the essay, De Quincey admitted that not only was he addicted to opium, he suspected he’d ingested more of the substance than any other man save Coleridge. (Incidentally, we reviewed a novel by Year in Reading alumnus Jeet Thayil that largely took place in an opium den.)