July 31, 2014

 

Margot Adler

Margot Adler

NPR correspondent Margot Adler died on Tuesday at age 68. She had worked as a general-assignment reporter, as New York bureau chief,  and as a political and cultural correspondent, and for nine years was the host of “Justice Talking,” a show about public policy. She identified as pagan. In 1979, she wrote Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today.

PEN has announced its 2014 literary award-winners. Notably, Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott won the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for Critical Mass, and Frank Bidart’s Metaphysical Dog won the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry—a fine opportunity to revisit Bookforum’s review of the “deeply personal, vigorously intellectual, and remarkably unsimple” collection.

David Frum apologizes for casting doubt, last week on Twitter, on the authenticity of photographs from Gaza.

Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch, has been optioned by Warner Brothers and will be produced by Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. Warner Brothers also owns the films rights to Tartt’s 1992 novel, The Secret History. Bookforum happened to cast the film back in February.

At seventeen, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier explained her feelings to her Harvard boyfriend like so: “I’ve always thought of being in love as being willing to do anything for the other person—starve to buy them bread and not mind living in Siberia with them—and I’ve always thought that every minute away from them would be hell—so looking at it that [way] I guess I’m not in love with you.” She’d been losing interest for a while: Three months earlier, she’d written, “”I do love you though—and can love you without kissing you every time I see you and I hope you understand that.” It was her birthday on Monday. She would have been eighty-five.

T.C. Boyle’s East is East includes a character called “La Dershowitz,” a young writer of high ambitions and meager talent who writes restaurant reviews. At the Paris Review blog, Michelle Huneven reveals that the character was clearly based on her: She knew Boyle, who called her “La Huneven”; she wrote restaurant reviews; she was an aspiring novelist. Huneven describes the pain of recognizing herself in the “talentless airhead poseur trying to break into the hallowed world of literature,” the ”sense of powerlessness and an utter lack of recourse.” And yet people who recognize themselves in their friends’ work should remember that  “‘You’ve been fictionalized’ actually means, ‘You’ve been exaggerated!’ (Or downplayed!).”

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