“[Mark] Twain wasn’t above the contrivances of capitalism, even as he skewered them. . . From nonage to dotage, in dire straits or in the pink, he was always a capricious entrepreneur, counting the zeroes on an imaginary balance sheet.” The New Yorker writes about the humor writer’s many failed attempts to get very rich. From our archives: Twain and the Wild West.
L.A.-based readers might be interested in the McSweeney's Issue 37 release party at 826LA West on Monday, May 9th at 8 pm. I'll be reading, along with fellow contributors Kevin Moffett and Larain Newman. The event will be hosted by Josh Bearman, and musician Tristen will perform.
Let’s take a moment to be jealous of other countries, shall we? In Iceland, “one in ten [residents] will publish something in their lifetime.” Norway’s government “buys 1,000 copies of every book a Norwegian author publishes. It provides a $19,000 annual subsidy to every author.” In Argentina, “the city of Buenos Aires now gives pensions to published writers.”
Popular bookmakers Ladbrokes have announced their opening odds for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Smart money seems to favor Haruki Murakami, who would surely take the prize if it depended on recent book sales. Meanwhile the next two favorites are Joyce Carol Oates (6/1) and Hungarian author Péter Nádas (7/1). All signs point to this being another year of disappointment for Philip Roth’s fans – his odds of winning stand at 16/1.
"I don’t divide my friendships into continental categories. I don’t think: Today I’ll have lunch with my European friend, and tomorrow I will invite my Asian friend to the park. It would be silly of me to think of the authors I read in those terms. End of topic." The (still relatively) new Literary Hub interviews Valeria Luiselli about the literary tradition, authors's names, magical realism and her new novel, The Story of My Teeth.
At the LA Times, Scott Esposito gives David Lipsky's Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace a mixed review.
"And so the book we have available to us is not the one she intended for us to see — and to those who knew her only as the private spouse of a public figure, Michelle McNamara emerges from these pages as much of a mystery as the Golden State Killer does, gone in the dark." In Vulture, a profile of the late true crime writer Michelle McNamara whose book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, was published last week. From our archives: an essay on why one writer reads true crime novels.
Out this week: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff; The Blue Guitar by John Banville; Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt; Sweet Caress by William Boyd; The Double Life of Liliane by Lily Tuck; The Marvels by Brian Selznick; Scrapper by Matt Bell; and The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
Eileen Myles, the poet and self-described "loudmouthed lesbian (which means mainstream invisible)" has given One Grand Books a list of her ten favorite books from the Djuna Barnes classic Nightwood to John Wieners's Supplication: Selected Poems. Here's a complementary Millions essay on Eileen Myles and the fugitive form.