Where did George Orwell come around to socialism? Try the north of England. In a piece in Prospect Magazine, Stephen Ingle recounts the author’s journey through industrial Britain.
Ever got the feeling that literary life used to be a lot more glamorous? Well, thanks to this review, we now have some proof that it was. In The Times Literary Supplement, a review of Antonia Fraser’s new memoir, which includes her memories of meeting the Queen and dancing with T.S. Eliot. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
This week sees the release of Edward St. Aubyn’s final “Patrick Melrose novel,” At Last. A new, omnibus edition of all the novels in the series is also out. Steve Erickson’s new novel These Dreams of You is out, as is The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a debut effort set in Burma by German novelist Jan-Philipp Sendker. This week also sees the release, on Blu-ray, of the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird.
We all doodle, but Meg Wolitzer gets inspired by it. When she was writing The Interestings, she frequently drew her way into her characters. “I sometimes drew crude, Harvey- and Archie-inspired images of my characters, in keeping with the spirit of Ethan Figman and Figland,” she wrote in The New Yorker.
“In the imposed rhythm of the day, there wasn’t the time to step back and appraise my ideas, to delete paragraphs, to question my identity. Whether or not I was a writer was temporarily immaterial, because I was writing.” Adam Dalva contemplates life at an artists’ residency. For more of his writing, check out his essay on Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch for The Millions.
Recommended RSS-ing: A better word of the day from artist Tory Hoke, who pairs each unusual word with a hand-drawn comic. Friday’s entry, “spurcitious,” is charmingly defined in relation to a thumb and a hammer. Hate pictures? Other tried-and-true options include curators at Merriam-Webster, The New York Times, and this guy on Twitter.
Lydia Millet’s most recent novel, Magnificence, is the third in a trilogy, and a reminder of what a significant body of work she’s been building over the last decade. The Point offers the best overview of that work you’re likely to find anywhere. Millet’s “equal parts” Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen, writes Tom Dibblee, “but really she’s her own thing.”