Sometimes it seems that adolescence lasts forever. Unfortunately, there’s now evidence that it does in many ways. At The Atlantic, Megan Garber reviews Popular, a new book by a psychology professor which examines, well, popularity.
“When it comes to the personal essay, we want so much and there is something cannibalistic about our desire. We want essayists to splay themselves bare. We want to see how much they are willing to bleed for us. This desire introduces an interesting tension for essay writers. How much should they bleed, and how much blood should they save for themselves?” Roxane Gay reviews Meghan Daum‘s The Unspeakable and reflects on the personal essay for The New York Times Book Review. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s Millions review of the same book.
“I would argue that decent books coverage in a daily newspaper — especially when it’s presented in such a way that readers are likely to stumble over it and discover titles they might not otherwise have heard of — is more supportive of writers in the long run than a scholarship program.” At Salon, Laura Miller explores literary culture and the downsides of the MFA, which include teaching high school.
Recommended Reading: Almost a century ago, two students at Oxford wrote back to Ophelia: “Ophelia racked with phantasy, / And Sigismunda, sick with rue — / Ladies, why did ye choose to die / When all the world was made for you?” Find out more about the poets Doreen Wallace and Eleanore Geach at The Toast. We recently wrote about why authors continually turn to Shakespeare.
“It just goes to show you: it’s not just luck you need to have a successful literary career. It’s luck, piled on luck, piled on luck again, and around the corner, you need another sprinkling of it” says Michelle Dean, after investigating Stephen King’s rise in response partly to Dwight Allen’s “Snob Notes” on the author. Colin Dickey and Sarah Langan have both previously weighed on on Allen’s essay and King’s particular strengths.
This past Monday The Paris Review revealed the winners of the first annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting prize. This prize is different from the average literary prize because it focuses on celebrating women under 30 who have a passion for collecting books. The prize was created by the Brooklyn bookstore, Honey & Wax. The owners “O’Donnell and Romney had observed that although the young women who entered their store were passionate about their collections, they rarely referred to themselves as collectors. Their hope is to ‘encourage young women who are actively collecting books to own and share that part of their lives, and to think strategically about the future of their collections.’” Meet the women and their incredible collections here and pair it with our post on the complete archives of The Paris Review.
Already on shelves ahead of its “official” release date is Mark Twain’s long embargoed Autobiography. Also new this week are The Petting Zoo, a posthumously published novel by punk poet Jim Carroll; a new collection of Selected Stories from master of the form William Trevor; Cynthia Ozick’s “retelling” of of Henry James’ The Ambassadors, Foreign Bodies; and, in time for election day today, Matt Taibbi’s collection of biting political journalism, Griftopia.