“I haven’t met Drake, but I have of course met people who have met Drake. But you have to realize how o-l-d I am. I’m not likely to go to the same parties. Or many parties at all, to be frank.” Junot Diaz interviews Margaret Atwood for The Boston Review. We obviously recommend you read our respective interviews with them both, too.
Out this week: Mislaid by Nell Zink; A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me by David Gates; Odd Woman in the City by Vivian Gornick; The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North; The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry; Lifted by the Great Nothing by Karim Dimechkie; The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger; England and Other Stories by Graham Swift; and War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Another hip-hip for long-form journalism. George Packer‘s piece in the New Yorker on Richard Holbrooke and the Af-Pak War reminds one that some things — complicated geopolitical matters, for example — must be explored at length. Subscribers can read the full article in the digital edition here. Short of that, read Packer’s assessment of the McChrystal Report on his blog.
Science now confirms what’s long been suspected by people related to theater kids: “the quality of a performance does not drive the amount of applause an audience gives.”
Meet Shondaland, a new website created by Shonda Rhimes and dedicated to storytelling that launched this week. One of their most recent posts highlights 28 books to read this fall. We know there’s a lot of reading recommendation lists around this time of year (like our September preview) but we appreciate the diversity of this list in particular and its willingness to hold back judgment if we don’t finish all the suggestions. Pair with our interview with Jesmyn Ward (whose Sing, Unburied Sing made the list), along with Year in Reading alum Eleanor Henderson’s Twelve Mile Straight.
Recommended Reading: This essay on Jorie Graham, Modernist poetry, and the resistance of closure from The Nation. In the essay, Ange Mlinko puts Graham in league with such writers as John Ashbery and Frederick Seidel as some of the few living American poets “to have advanced a worldly, Modernist model of the poem into the 21st century.”