Books

Book News: Desmond O'Grady, Irish Poet (And Fellini Bit Actor), Dies

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The nomadic Irish poet Desmond O'Grady, who had a bit part in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, has died, The Irish Times reports. O'Grady lived much of his life abroad, in Paris, Italy (where he met Fellini), the U.S. and Egypt. He told an interviewer: "James Joyce left. So I too had to." Irish President Michael D. Higgins said in a tribute, "From wherever he was writing, be it Cairo or Kinsale, his work invoked a sense of what was Irish in both heritage and contemporary life." In his poem "The Spaniard Inn," O'Grady wrote, "It took me forty years of world wander / before I shipped in here and dropped anchor. / Some voice amid life whispers where to scuttle."
  • Kathryn Schulz profiles David Mitchell in New York Magazine: "You could call Mitchell a global writer, I suppose, but that does not quite capture what he is doing. It is closer to say that he is a pangaeic writer, a supercontinental writer. What is for geologists a physical fact — that the world is everywhere interconnected, bound together in a cycle of faulting and folding, rifting and drifting, erosion and uplift — is, for Mitchell, a metaphysical conviction." (See also: NPR's excerpt of his forthcoming book.)
  • Jessamyn West defends the most maligned font — Comic Sans: "And so Comic Sans joins the ranks of Nickelback and Hot Pockets as a thing you're only allowed to like in a so-bad-it's-good way. But I make posters for the library, and sometimes the puppet show poster looks best in Comic Sans. A victimless crime, no? So why does anyone care? The internet is full of decontextualized symbology that winds up in the Kangaroo Court of Lulz, which finds things lacking in appeal — although they were not those things' intended audience. There are other things to aspire to than being cool or even appealing. Comic Sans is fine. You are fine."
  • Nick Ripatrazone considers the parallels between writing and fishing: "Faith is what brings anglers back to shallow streams, and what brings writers back to imperfect drafts. ... Writing and fishing are both art forms built for optimists."
  • "In my twenties I realized that the muse is a bum. The muse only shows up when you bait her by putting your ass in the chair." Elissa Schappell talks about finding her muse.

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