For The New Yorker, Jill Lepore brings a critical eye to the memoirs of 2020’s Democratic presidential candidates, comparing the lyricism and romance of Pete Buttigieg’s Shortest Way Home to the force and anger of Elizabeth Warren’s This Fight Is Our Fight to the less inspired liberal-cum-Republican coming-of-age narrative in Ronald Reagan’s Where’s the Rest of Me? “Most of the books,” Lepore notes, “are not great books, and some of these people just don’t seem like good people. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t make good Presidents, I guess, but it raises a question: Why do they write this stuff?” What are political autobiographies really for?
Along with D.T. Max, Laura Miller, and Jason Kottke, I’ll be participating in this week’s discussion of Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace over at New York Magazine.
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, the forthcoming debut effort by sometime Millions contributor Elif Batuman, gets an intriguing write-up in Publishers Weekly.
“As I let the shotgun drop the butt hit the bricks and the second shell fired into me…” This excerpt from Homero Airdjis’s upcoming The Child Poet, is fraught with elements of tension and discovery. Something of a künstlerroman, the book tracks Airdjis’s artistic and poetic development from his boyhood through the present day.