In anticipation of his new book, Deacon King Kong, James McBride spoke to Seija Rankin at Entertainment Weekly about his favorite books and authors, including Harper Lee, William Saroyan, and John A. Williams. He also recounts a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with one of his literary heroes, Kurt Vonnegut. “I had lunch with Vonnegut and his wife, the talented photographer Jill Krementz, not too long before he died. After lunch Jill left us alone and Kurt and I listened to Wagner and Louis Armstrong in his sitting room. We talked music for a long time. He loved those two creative musical voices.”
A while back, we reviewed an anthology of work by American poets laureate–that is, those appointed by the President to serve the entire United States. But there are 45 currently-serving state poets laureate, and thousands of city, county, and other poets laureate as well. What exactly do they do?
“Ideas are interesting to me, and religions are a place where ideas have been very subtly embodied for thousands of years. All literature started as sacred literature.” Alexandra Alter interviews Salman Rushdie about his brand-new novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.
“In times of tension it is particularly important to defend what is good, identify what would worsen the status quo, strive for balanced assessments, always hoping for the best, and try to identify and oppose any and all steps toward coercive authoritarianism.” Richard Falk narrates the coup in Turkey at Guernica.
The Harvard Hoaxer‘s not-to-be-missed resume (pdf) includes several impressive under-contract book projects, including The Mapping of an Ideological Demesne; Wampum and the Origins of American Money; and A Short History of North America. Pretty impressive, for a 23-year-old.