Beautiful, shimmer, jetty. Poets Joy Harjo, Claudia Rankine, Robert Pinsky et al. tell Merriam-Webster about their favorite words. Related, and far less pretty: the most-looked-up words post-election include fascism, bigot, and xenophobe.
If you’ve ever had a successful friend you secretly envied and maybe even hated, you may be in startlingly good company: a new reading of an old letter between Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot indicates that the “flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one” shared exactly this kind of frenemyship. Unrelated: a short recording of Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.”
“For about 15 years, every time I had a really good dance party that went late, with people lolling around drunk and exhausted, at about 2 a.m., I would hand out paper and ask everyone to draw a vomiting cat. . . . I ended up with an incredibly thick file of drawings, some by people who went on to be published cartoonists and writers.” The New York Times reports that (Year in Reading alum) Jonathan Lethem has sold his papers to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, a trove that includes comic books, manuscript drafts, notes, letters, and yes, drawings of vomiting cats. You can read our review of Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, which may or may not feature hairballs in a crucial plot point, here.
Just about every review of Virginia Zaharieva’s Nine Rabbits calls attention to its “narrative virtuosity” and the way it “packs several genres into one.” That might sound like empty praise until you check out this excerpt for yourself, and see that the book is not only a memoir, and a coming-of-age story, but it’s also a cookbook.
We’ve written before about various rare recordings of authors reading that occasionally surface on the internet (a sample here) but today we add a new author: James Joyce. Open Culture has posted two recordings of the author reading from Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and while the audio quality is exactly what you would expect for recordings made in the 1920s, we still recommend listening.
In an interview for Guernica Jonathan Lee talks to Chris Parris-Lamb, the literary agent who represented Chad Harbach‘s The Art of Fielding, John Darnielle‘s National Book Award-nominated Wolf in White Van, and now our very own Garth Risk Hallberg‘s upcoming City on Fire, about “The Art of Agenting.” Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s conversation with her agent, “Don’t Ever Do It for the Money,” and with the opening lines of City on Fire, a Millions exclusive.