"Anaesthetist Peter Morris says he was able to write a novel while his patients slept because surgeons took so long over operations."
"Of all the things I’ve been called in my time, the one that surprises me the most is 'California Writer.' When I hear that, I look over my shoulder, certain that the phrase must apply to the writer behind me or to my left. It’s the way I feel when I am addressed by my husband’s last name. It takes me a moment to realize his mother is not in the room. Categories trouble me."
"My financial records revealed that I have way too much money in my checking account." —Former terrible New Republic blogger and current New York and GQ contributor Jason Zengerle gets VP-vetted as a GQ stunt and the facts that emerge (okay, just that one fact) may surprise you. Also I guess he is prepared for the IRS to come at him over that whole "paying undocumented workers" and "not reporting income paid to household help" thing? Guess he won't have trouble with the small fines.
[UPDATE: This is a dick post. It was supposed to be mildly amusing and to convey mostly friendly teasing, and instead it [...]
“Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors,” Ernest Hemingway once wrote, with typical pugnacity. But are the critics sometimes right? In this occasional series we'll examine the early careers of now-beloved authors to see what the critics first made of them.
Every profile of Joan Didion begins the same way: some quasi-poetic observation of the slight figure she cuts out there in the world, seguing to a contrast with what has often been called the "steely" quality of her prose. (Most hilariously awkward of these: a 1970 Los Angeles Times profile that tries to sustain an extended metaphor [...]
Author readings and book tours are not an essential component of the writing or publishing processes, and so these events have long been associated with a kind of miasmic purposelessness. Go to your basic reading and sit in the back row, where if you squint, you will see above the head of almost everyone involved—the writer(s)/reader(s), the audience, the publicist, the bookseller, the sales clerk(s) who set up the chairs and must wait around to take them down before heading out to an indie-rock show, the local reporter doing a trend piece on the decline of readings—a clump of thought bubbles bumping up against each other like trapped balloons, [...]
Jonathan Franzen is in my estimation America's best living novelist (OKAY?) and a substantial number of people get upset whenever he writes or says basically anything. It's interesting to ask why! In part it's because his ideas about novels and what people respond to in them are provocative and controversial, and sometimes, as in his recent essay about Edith Wharton, he projects his own responses onto "us" in a way that can be irritating, if we disagree with him. Our opinion about his writing is also affected by of how rich he is and his gender and what he looks like, and that's very hard to talk about. But [...]