Welcome to the weekly Vox book link roundup, a curated selection of the best online writing about books and related topics. Here’s the best the internet has to offer for the week of June 11, 2017.
- Here is some scandalous literary gossip for you: Colson Whitehead, who just won the Pulitzer for Underground Railroad, once gave Richard Ford a bad review, so Ford spat in Whitehead’s face and says he still doesn’t regret it, 15 years later:
Ford has form in taking hostile criticism extremely personally: after a poor review from Alice Hoffman, he told the Guardian that he took one of her books into the backyard and shot it (then mailed it to her); decades after Larry McMurtry tore apart his first novel in 1976, Ford was driven to “‘explain’ to him my feelings about his review”. (McMurtry couldn’t remember writing it).
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the authors whose books I have reviewed for not hunting me down to spit on me.
- Bob Dylan appears to have plagiarized much of his Nobel Prize lecture from SparkNotes; SparkNotes responded, as brands do these days, by being snarky on Twitter.
- Here is a woman who has spent the past year eating Infinite Jest, page by page.
- Our new poet laureate is Tracy K. Smith! She wants to be a literary evangelist:
Though Ms. Smith often takes on current social and political issues in her poetry, she doesn’t plan to use her position as poet laureate to advocate social causes, she said. Instead, she aims to be an advocate for the medium itself and to instill the same awe she felt when she read Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” as a girl.
“Rather than talking about social issues, I want to give more readers access to more kinds of poems and poets,” she said. “Poems are friendly, and they teach us how to read them.”
- And David Grossman won the Man Booker International Prize.
- The Handmaid’s Tale aired its season finale this week. If you loved it, Read It Forward has a list of 14 books to read next about reproductive rights.
- Feel smug: A new study suggests that people who read books live 23 months longer than people who don’t.
- At LitHub, Catherine Lacey suggests notes for a syllabus on how to write about love:
Many books cover heartbreak well and there are plenty on obsessive love and of course there are the many comedies that end in marriage, but I’m after another sort of story. No Disney endings. No platitudes. No montage sequences. The book I’m still looking for would encase the reader so completely in feeling that reading it could transform the reader into a lover or beloved, a book so utterly consuming and wrecking that it would make the quotidian seem suddenly foreign, just as love has the power to do.