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?
“How can we represent four hundred years of American literary history in a way that doesn’t reinforce the unfortunate hierarchies of those four hundred years?” Year in Reading alum Rebecca Makkai writes for Electric Literature about the opening of the new American Writers Museum in Chicago and what it means to curate an historical canon of letters. See also: our interview with Makkai from a couple of years back.
“Her pincers tore at me… I stormed her openings as if she was a beleaguered fortress.” We’re wincing-slash-laughing at Lapham’s Quarterly‘s infographic of authors’ attempts to put sex down on the page throughout history. Pair with author Julia Fierro‘s great piece about trying to *do it* in her first novel.
A few days ago, Amazon announced the launch of their new “@Author” feature for the Kindle, whereby readers can click on an e-book passage and ask the author questions about it directly. I’ve broken out in a cold poststructuralist sweat about this over on The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog.