The Tournament of Books has returned, and this year’s judges include our own Kirstin Butler!
A recent Curiosity noted autistic British artist Stephen Wiltshire drawing the New York City skyline from memory. A new book Drawing Autism will collect the work of other autistic artists. Wiltshire chose not to be in the book because he didn’t want to be seen as “just” an autistic artist. More from the book.
To give context to a new William Vollmann essay about reading his own FBI profile (available to subscribers only, sadly), Harper’s Magazine published a few pages from Vollmann’s file online. Among other things, they reveal that the FBI considered Vollman “exceedingly intelligent and possessed with an enormous ego.” (For a taste of the Harper’s essay, you can read this WaPo article on Vollmann’s connection to the Unabomber.)
The New Yorker Book Bench is having a contest. Submit a photo of your pet dressed as a character from literature. My kittens are in for the worst two weeks of their young lives. Dante and Fur-gil? Tess of the O’Paw-bervilles? Jay Catsby?
Oh my god. So many possibilities.
In 1979, William Gaddis taught a course at Bard College on “The Literature of Failure,” examining works that somehow focused on personal failure or insufficiency. These included, among other books, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays, as well as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. In Bookforum, Casey Michael Henry takes on a related genre: the literature of obsolescence. You could also read James Cappio on meeting Gaddis in person.
The brand new Library of Birmingham opens next week, and the gigantic structure is said to be “Europe’s largest public library.” In addition to its modern architecture, the facility also offers “a room from the 19th Century … to house one of the UK’s most important Shakespeare collections.”
Our own Bill Morris (the man Michiko Kakutani once compared favorably to John Updike) is hitting the road in support of his novel Motor City Burning, and you can catch him now as he swings through the South before heading to the Midwest. Elsewhere, see what Detroit’s hometown paper learned from Bill about a novel that mines the city’s fractious history.