How To Write John Updike’s Deathbed

Interview with Adam Begley, who talks about what he learned from researching and writing his biography of John Updike. “Ron Chernow gave me a little avuncular advice. He said: There are three kinds of biographies. There are two-year biographies, five-year biographies and ten-year biographies. He and I agreed that I should be writing a two-year biography. OK, it took me five years to write a two-year biography” (2,540 words)

It’s Adventure Time Pick of the day

In praise of Adventure Time, a “smash hit cartoon” for children aged six to eleven, and also “a serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world.” The heroes, a boy called Finn and a dog called Jake, “possess a blind optimism that is as clueless as it is comforting”. This is not merely great television, it is great art, and not only for kids (11,340 words)

The Letter

Elegant and always interesting account of Robert Gottlieb’s underrated six-year editorship of the New Yorker. When Si Newhouse appointed him to succeed William Shawn in 1987, the editorial staff wrote Gottlieb a letter asking him not come. He came anyhow, but the letter cast a long shadow. Gottlieb never quite felt at home. His “interim government”, wise but hesitant, ended when Newhouse brought in Tina Brown (4,300 words)

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