Equal parts voyeuristically indulgent and unapologetically stimulating, Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books is the second installment in Yale University Press’s ongoing series, a journey into the personal libraries of thirteen favorite authors. This installment? Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Díaz, Rebecca Goldstein, and more.
A while back, I linked to a contentious letter between Saul Bellow and Jack Ludwig, written not long after Bellow found out Ludwig was sleeping with his wife. Now, here’s a (somewhat) less angry piece of correspondence, sent from Philip Larkin to Barbara Pym. Sample quote: “Has anyone ever done any work on why memories are always unhappy?”
William Blake may have described its “green and pleasant land” but this week England had traded green for white, as you can see in this NASA photograph (c/o Gizmodo).
The New York Public Library just acquired Tom Wolfe’s archives for $2.15 million. They include 190 boxes of drafts, outlines, and research for his articles and books as well as 10,000 letters from the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Gay Talese. But the library missed the opportunity to get one of his famous white suits because as Wolfe said, “Those are the things I really can’t part with.” Here’s one of our favorite Wolfe essays, “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s.”
The 2017 Whiting Award winners were announced tonight at a ceremony in Manhattan, and this year’s list of ten honorees includes Francisco Cantú (The Line Becomes a River), Simone Wright (Of Being Dispersed), Phillip B. Williams (Thief in the Interior), Kaitlyn Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman), Tony Tulathimutte (Private Citizens), Jen Beagin (Pretend I’m Dead), and Lisa Halliday (Asymmetry) as well as playwrights Clarence Coo, James Ijames, and Clare Barron. The award, which recognizes early-career writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, comes with a $50,000 prize. Excerpts from each writer’s work can be read at The Paris Review.
Male bonding can take many forms, among them the rarely-seen joint book tour, which Mike Harvkey and Josh Weil decided to undertake in support of their new novels. The two write about meeting each other, travelling around America and bouncing ideas off trusted friends in a Salon essay. FYI, our own Bill Morris wrote a piece about his own book tour for The Daily Beast.
Steve Almond treks deeper into familiar territory in the latest issue of The Baffler, wherein the essayist takes on “our lazy embrace of [Jon] Stewart and [Stephen] Colbert,” an undoubtedly strong “testament to our own impoverished comic standards.” Indeed, Almond notes, our satirists and comics today remain “careful never to question the corrupt precepts of the status quo too vigorously.”