Not long ago someone sent me these lines from a 1943 letter Larkin wrote to J.B. Sutton: “Kingsley [Amis] once had a colossal desire to shit, so took ‘bad cover’ behind a bush only to find that he only had in his pockets a letter from me and a 101- note. So he refrained from shitting and walked home, probably shortening his life by several years…. At present I am not a writer. The idea of writing makes me emit long whining farts of disgust.”
In a live Book World chat yesterday, Margaret Atwood fielded questions about her “Writing Life” essay on teaching creative writing to Inuit women in the Arctic.
Lucy Ellmann’s Doctors and Nurses appeared in England this week. Victoria Lane calls the book “a melded spoof of medical romances and Jane Eyre” that’s “as lunatic and splenetic and distinctive as anything that will be published this year.” She also says, “I have been told that reviewers complained about the use of screaming capitals in Lucy Ellmann’s first book, which is why she now packs every page with them. They are very annoying — it’s like listening to the radio with the volume going up and down — but you’ve got to admire that kind of insane bloody-mindedness.”
Bob Hoover argues that we need to re-learn the art of separating a written work from its author. (Via Bookninja.)