“As a writer, it’s not like all experience is useful, but when something is troubling, a form can present itself as a way to think. To put what is essentially chaotic into a container where it can be what it is.” The Rumpus interviews John Freeman, the Executive Editor of LitHub, about his recent literary projects, the death of his mother, and empathy. Pair with: Contributing Editor Nick Ripatrazone‘s Year in Reading which includes Freeman’s debut poetry collection, Maps.
In which Jami Attenberg (whose forthcoming The Middlesteins made it to our big 2012 second half books preview) discusses the outright mockery of Jeffrey Eugenides’s pseudo-famous vest in the web advertising campaign (which–full disclosure–also ran on The Millions) for Jennifer Weiner’s The Next Best Thing: “Hit Me with Your Vest Shot.”
Are you embarrassed about your lack of literary inheritance? You’re not alone. Here’s a great piece by Annie Liontas at The New York Times on those first, lonely forays into the literary world: “But I see my experience as an immigrant into the world of letters as a blessing. Being an outsider is the origin of my imagination; it gives me the constant consciousness that my perspective is only one of many and that there are myriad ways of being in the world. It grants me the gift of being attuned to the voices in the room, as well as all of those shut out of it.”
Some seriously deranged Amazon customer reviews. (via Doc Searls)A year ago “Our Lady of the Underpass” was a Chicago phenomenon. Eric Zorn revisits.Chimney sweeps and flower pots are the stuff of poetry for Sam.Dale Peck’s recent judgment in the Tournament of Books is scarcely worth mentioning, but I did very much enjoy Kevin Guilfoile’s commentary on the topic as well as his tale about meeting Ken Kesey.Kakutani’s reign of terror turns 25.The Literary Saloon points us to Jonathan Franzen’s new book. It’s a memoir, and like Ed, I am disappointed by that.The Rake chats with Charles D’Ambrosio
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.”
Out this week: I Am Radar by Reif Larsen; Discontent and Its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid; Bitter Eden by Tatamkhulu Afrika; Wonderkid by Wesley Stace; and Lucky Alan, a new story collection by Jonathan Lethem. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.