With his upcoming book, Something That May Shock and Discredit You, coming out in January, Daniel Mallory Ortberg talks to Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore at The Guardian about the wide array of subjects addressed in the book. He covers everything from William Shatner and HGTV’s House Hunters to the Book of Genesis, particularly one story: “I think there’s so much in the story with Jacob wrestling with the angel of Penuel. I wrote that story from the angel’s perspective. So much of that story feels like it has a lot of trans-resonance. There’s no explanation about what the figure—the angel—comes for. It ends with this strange touch where afterwards he never walks the same way again. He has a new name. He is no longer called Jacob.”
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“When John Green told the crowd that, though he was proud of the movie, it wasn’t his movie, someone shouted, ‘But it’s your plot, John!’—which marked the first time I’d ever heard heckling about the nature of authorship.” Green, author of YA bestseller The Fault in Our Stars, is the literary hero of teenage girls, and nerdfighter hero to millions. After you read the excellent profile at The New Yorker, consider the The Millions’ own review.
“In creative writing, I teach that characters arise out of our need for them. By now, the person I created in New York was the only one I wanted to be. …Eight years after reaching the end of myself, I was on borrowed time. Whether it was in a plane or a coffin, I knew I had to get out of Jamaica.” Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women, which once gave me so much trouble, and whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings the Book Report covered here, writes for the New York Times Magazine about leaving Jamaica to find himself in Minnesota.
Name a famous person, living or dead, you’d like to have dinner with. If you answered “Henry Miller,” you can watch Dinner With Henry, a rare, 30-minute documentary about Henry Miller, that is exactly what its title implies: footage of Miller having dinner. (via @maudnewton)
Sometimes the most important issues are the most difficult to discuss. While a conversation about diversity in literature has started, The New Republic asks us why socioeconomic status is often left out of the conversation. Our essay on the rise and fall of the creative class pairs nicely.