Emily Temple explains why Rebel in the Rye, Danny Strong’s new feature film about J. D. Salinger, is “bad for writers.” “A while ago, I wrote a piece about why every aspiring writer should see Paterson, Jim Jarmusch’s excellent film about a young poet living in Paterson, New Jersey. This movie is the other side of the coin. Writers should not see Rebel in the Rye. I mean, do what you want, but if Paterson was a realistic evocation of the life of a creative person, Rebel in the Rye is the utter opposite. Not only is it filled with platitudes and lame advice, but it’s a sentimental monument to being precious about your work.”
The Times profiles Ian Buruma, the author (Murder in Amsterdam) who recently became the editor of the New York Review of Books. He is not interested in trying to fill the shoes of his predecessor, the notoriously dedicated and much-loved Robert Silvers. Says Buruma of the NYRB under Silvers: “It was a monarchy.” Now, Buruma says, “perhaps it will be a slightly more democratic operation. Certainly I think I’ll be more collaborative. One great strength of The Review at the moment is that it has a number of very, very bright young editors who know more about certain things than I do.”
Most descriptions of the writing life are dull, but novelist Roddy Doyle has written an evocative and entertaining essay about his habits of writing over the years. “My office is in the attic. I bring a mug of green tea up with me. It used to be coffee but the coffee I drink in the early morning is so strong it’s possibly illegal, so green tea it is—good for the cholesterol, bad for the self-respect. When I was a teacher I used to meet hundreds of people every day. A bell would go every 40 minutes; the day was full of human noise. Then, after June 1993, I was alone. I was happy enough but the working day yawned; the silence wasn’t eerie but I didn’t like it. A friend suggested music. That seems odd now, that someone had to persuade the man who wrote The Commitments that he might enjoy listening to music while he worked.”
“Have Nobel prizes gone to known gay aesthetes before,” writes Eileen Myles in a tribute to John Ashbery. “Ones who make light of it, and that it is pretty much everything. That was John’s great subject. Everything. Subjectivity itself.” And at the Library of America website, writers Star Black, Jed Perl, Charles Bernstein, Anne Waldman, Marjorie Perloff, and others remember the poet.
Village Voice alumni organized a reunion party in New York City this weekend, bringing together editors and writers including Susan Brownmiller, James Wolcott, Toure, Michael Tomasky, Robert Christgau, Jennifer Gonnerman, James Hannaham, and many others.