We’ve thought a lot about Leonard Cohen over the years. We’re perhaps, uh, not the only ones. Recently, Cohen’s love letters to Marianne Ihlen sold for a whopping $876,000. While Ihlen and Cohen’s love is recorded in songs like “So Long, Marianne,” these letters appear to preserve something more quotidian: the writing and publication of Cohen’s novels. Referring to his debut, The Favorite Game, Cohen wrote that the literary critics have “all screamed about the wild undisciplined dirty book, so it’s selling quite well.”
A few weeks ago, I let you know about The Guardian’s new series spotlighting the best 100 nonfiction books of all time. Today, we have a curious addition to the list: Ted Hughes’ 1997 collection Birthday Letters. Here’s a bonus Millions review of Jonathan Bates’ controversial new biography of Hughes, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life.
“Because what [narcissists] have inside is empty space, they have had to make a study of the selves of others in order to invent something that looks and sounds like one. Narcissists are imitators par excellence. And they do not copy the small, boring parts of selves. They take what they think are the biggest, most impressive parts of other selves, and devise a hologram of self that seems superpowered. Let’s call it ‘selfiness,’ this simulacrum of a superpowered self.” Go enjoy this excerpt from Kristin Dombek’s new book The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism.
“We wanted to show a side of the migration crisis that is rarely portrayed, steering away from the depictions of nameless masses by certain media and politicians,” write the producers of Mr. Gay Syria, a documentary about Syrian refugees and their quest to shine a spotlight on the community of “Syrians who had to run away from war and homophobia,” and who have relocated to Turkey, “a place that did not accept them either.” Now, after two years of work, the filmmakers are raising money to fund post-production and community outreach. You can donate here, and visit their Facebook or Twitter pages for more information.
The hysterical website Old Jews Telling Jokes has been revived from its year-long hibernation, and two of its newest gems are worth viewing: “A Stutter” and “Three German Shepherds.” Meanwhile, the show’s Off-Broadway adaptation is scheduled to open May 20th, and its producer has a great write-up about how the show’s evolved.
“It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a great artist creative” but The Atlantic makes a strong attempt and cites the story behind Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein as an example of what can happen “when experience, openness, and the right neurology come together.”