In the wake of her 2016 Presidential loss, Hillary Clinton’s best-selling book What Happened sparked the question: “Would you rather be president of the United States or a No. 1 best-selling author?” The Washington Post asked several authors including Cheryl Strayed, Erik Larson, and Joyce Carol Oates for their thoughts. See also our interview with Strayed from our archives.
This essay on the proliferation of gossip in journalism is adapted from Joseph Epstein’s Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit. In it, Epstein discusses the problem of “how straight-up, no-apologies public gossip has infected standard, or what once might have been called respectable, journalism.”
“This poem fosters reading again and again, because interpretation is always reaching its limits: eventually, one runs up against a secret gesture to which the only response is either to acknowledge that there is some other conscious being that could make or decipher it, or to fantasize the being that could.” A long, worthwhile review of R.F. Langley’s Complete Poems from 3:AM Magazine.
“Once [Jenny] Diski did get going as a writer, she and [Doris] Lessing agreed to a kind of literary nonaggression pact: Lessing would not write about Diski if Diski would not write about Lessing. Even now, I sensed a note of anxiety in Diski’s attitude toward her current project. When I asked her if she had any titles in mind for the finished work, she said: ‘Gratitude.’ Or: ‘Ingratitude.’ I can’t decide which.’”
Over at The Point, Spencer McAvoy writes about the language and vision of Joy Williams, a writer who “instead of drawing boundaries between us and whatever Other, posits language as an experience of self-limitedness.” Williams’s new collection of short stories, The Visiting Privilege, is one of the most anticipated books of 2015.