Lolita was panned as “dull, dull, dull,” while Collected Poems by W.B. Yeats was called “as discouraging as a breakfast of cold porridge.” Read some of the harshest New York Times book reviews of literary classics. Of Ulysses, the reviewer declares: “The average intelligent reader will glean little or nothing from it…save bewilderment and a sense of disgust.” Ouch.
Paris Review editor Lorin Stein sat down alongside James Salter, Mona Simpson, and John Jeremiah Sullivan to discuss the magazine’s sixtieth anniversary with Charlie Rose. At one point Stein admits that, “If you wrote about sex the way Jim [Salter] writes about sex … in nonfiction, you would be a sociopath.” (Bonus: Stein writes about John O’Hara for The New Yorker.)
“I lost the first good novel I ever wrote to a computer disaster. It happened at a crucial time in my life. I was working nights, living in a mouse-infested tenement in Giuliani-era Harlem and still figuring out if I could even do this thing — become a writer for real.” Mat Johnson on NPR’s All Tech Considered blog about the ultimate authorial nightmare, and how he recovered from it. Pair with our review of Johnson’s latest novel, Loving Day.