At Catapult, T Kira Madden discusses her favorite foods, and why soup in particular plays a prominent role in her memoir, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls. “Soup is incredible because I love—as any of my friends will say—I love tedium,” Madden says. “Tell me anything in excruciating detail, all the steps, every step, and the many reasons why something interacts with something else. It’s how I’ve lulled myself out of anxiety or panic attacks. It’s how I’ve managed depression.[…] Soup, of all things—at least the soups I like to make—require careful thought and order. I love understanding that order of flavor development, understanding why something should be salted or roasted first, why something else could fall apart. It’s a step-by-step thing, with this gorgeous result at the end, and you can taste those many layers and flavors.
The Canadian writer Mavis Gallant passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 91. A frequent New Yorker contributor, Gallant published two novels and ten volumes of short fiction in her lifetime, one of which, Home Truths, won the Governor General’s Award. The Globe and Mail’s obituary describes her as having “a journalist’s nose, a cinematographer’s eye and a novelist’s imagination.” (Andrew Saikali wrote about Gallant for The Millions back in 2008.)
The new media revolution has massacred the book review sections at many national newspapers, but it’s been just as unkind to movie reviewers. At his Salt Lake Tribune blog, Movie Cricket, SLT film critic Sean P. Means keeps a list of all of the movie reviewers who’ve gotten the axe.
The Atlantic reviews the first full-length biography of Joan Didion, The Last Love Song by Tracy Daugherty, to be released August 25th. The biography “looks at the author’s legacy of cool.” Related: Franklin Strong’s essay on “The Manliness of Joan Didion” in The Millions.
Some writers find their voices by heading off to Europe. Others (like Thoreau in Walden) head off to the woods instead. At The Rumpus, David Biespiel writes about the year he moved to Vermont, and what it meant to see himself as “leaning into” his youth. Pair with our own Anne K. Yoder on Ken Kesey and the Oregon coast.