As we mourn the loss of Anthony Bourdain, the Los Angeles Times remembers his impact on the literary world and the ways in which the literary establishment wanted him to ‘shape up’. A well-read chef and writer, Bourdain’s most well-known book was Kitchen Confidential. Pair with this essay on food writing.
“This is a huge generalization, but [American novels] have tended not to have all the elements that make it good for television, whether it’s too interior or there’s not enough action. The Brits tended to write more colorful stories rather than the darkness and struggle. Dickens and Trollope certainly knew how to write sequels, books that would make good ongoing series again and again. And the greatest love stories are in the Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. I don’t know what our equivalent is.” In a piece for The Atlantic Spencer Kornhaber wonders, “Is American Literature Too Dark for TV?“
I’ve noted before how William Carlos Williams’s famous poem, “This Is Just to Say,” has become an internet meme, but I haven’t noted the ongoing and delightfully random “Just to Say” Twitter bot. And also, I haven’t before linked to Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s riff on Williams’s rhythms.
Stay up until 4am reading that new release? Dread your early alarm after a night spent with a book? Maybe you’re just on Flaubert‘s schedule. Or, if you find it easy to fall asleep before midnight and enjoy early mornings, perhaps you’re running on Victor Hugo time. New York Magazine has compiled an infographic of the sleeping habits of geniuses, and the good news is that no matter when you fall asleep and wake up, someone brilliant has more or less kept your same schedule. So take heart, late-night readers and early risers. We’re all in good company.
Celebrated author Jean Craighead George passed away this week at the age of 92. George published more than 100 books throughout her career, often focusing on the environment and the natural world, most famously in My Side of the Mountain and in her Newbery Medal-winner, Julie of the Wolves.
“[T]here are no creative writing programs in Mexico, so people rely on the infinite patience of their friends.” Valeria Luiselli and Laia Jufresa, longtime readers of each other’s work, in conversation over at BOMB Magazine. See also: our review of Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth.
“Aspiring journalists tend to worship at the altar of Joan Didion,” writes Heather Havrilesky (who some of you may know as Polly) in the latest issue of Bookforum. The fact that so many writers look up to Didion as an example necessitates that the lit world find at least one offbeat alternative. In Havrilesky’s eyes, that alternative is obvious: the late Nora Ephron was the anti-Didion, she argues.