“There tends to be this idea that every piece and every assignment and every gig is always something speaking from the soul. We think that about great writers, that they’re incapable of doing hackwork.” The Rumpus interviewed Michelle Dean about women writers, the research process, and her forthcoming book, Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion. Pair with: Dean’s 2016 Year in Reading entry.
“America has always been able to countenance beggars, short-con men, and nine-to-fivers who just can’t get ahead, but we’ve never known what to do with the type of person who could have been really big but chose not to make the concessions required.” The Believer takes a look at the paradox of Nelson Algren.
It’s turning into Speedboat Week here, so why not spend the weekend with some of Renata Adler‘s most renowned nonfiction? Her controversial reassessment of Pauline Kael (featuring “A Limitless Capacity to Inquire,” one of the best found poems you’ll ever read) is at the NYRB, and her deep dive into l’affaire Lewinski can be found at the L.A. Times. Interestingly, as Sarah Weinman points out, Adler’s 2001 book about the Bilderberg Conferences still hasn’t seen the light of day. (“Who suppresses manuscripts? We do!”)
What’s the best book Mary Roach has read recently? Tim Johnston’s first novel, Descent: “I read the last 30 pages in an airport, 10 feet from the gate, and did not notice the boarding announcements. I missed my flight for literature.” Bonus: Here’s Roach’s interview with The Millions from a couple of years back.