This week poet Mark Baumer was struck and killed by an SUV while walking barefoot across the country. Baumer, 33, began his cross-country walk to raise awareness about climate change, and was documenting the journey on his blog (as well as Instagram and YouTube). Florida, where he was killed, was recently ranked “the most dangerous place for pedestrians” in the United States.
In the NYRB, a new article on Chris Ware, accompanied by an old joke -- dreamt up by none other than Gore Vidal -- that a hypothetical New York Review of Comic Books might replace its eponymous predecessor. Last week, our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Mr. Ware’s latest book.
When The New York Times tried to ask Jhumpa Lahiri what immigrant fiction inspired her, she smacked the question down by saying there is no such thing as immigrant fiction. "If certain books are to be termed immigrant fiction, what do we call the rest? Native fiction? Puritan fiction? This distinction doesn’t agree with me. Given the history of the United States, all American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction."
In his 2015 Year in Reading, Garth Risk Hallberg told us about Max Porter's Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, a quasi-poem/novel/memoir which "you will quickly forget is weird as hell, because it is also beautiful as hell, moving as hell, and funny as hell." Though the book isn't slated for stateside release for another few months, there is a fantastic review over at the London Review of Books that's well worth the read.
In the wake of Jonathan Franzen's much discussed New Yorker essay on Edith Wharton, Laura Miller defends readers who look to an author's life to aid their understanding of a given work: " Byron’s clubfoot, Flannery O’Connor’s lupus, Coleridge’s opium addiction and whatever was wrong with Hemingway do interest many readers because these factors shaped the life experiences from which the great work sprang."
A really great, thoughtful post about independent book stores in New York from The Written Nerd. A must read if you are a bookseller or if you care about the state of independent bookstores. Read the whole thing and then see my comment on the post for my thoughts.As an antidote to all the "best of" lists, check out the post at Book World about the twelve books she wishes she hadn't read this year.Least likely to be the next Oprah Book Club Pick: Kitty Kelley is writing an unauthorized bio of Oprah Winfrey.An esoteric obsession: Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie