Hilton Als, author and museum critic
November 17, 2014 - als
In “White Girls”, Hilton Als, longtime New Yorker author and museum critic, examines race, culture, and gender. Among a “white girls” he writes about are dancer and thespian Louise Brooks, writers Flannery O’Connor and Truman Capote, and thespian Michael Jackson.
Als will speak with Jamaica Kincaid about his book during 6 p.m. during a Brattle Theatre on Thursday. Tickets for a event, sponsored by a Harvard Book Store, are $5.
BOOKS: What are we reading currently?
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ALS: we only review “Farther and Wilder” by a good biographer Blake Bailey about Charles Jackson, who wrote “The Lost Weekend.” It’s a fascinating mural of addiction. He also wrote a autobiography of John Cheever. Like Cheever, Jackson was a closeted happy male who came out late. It’s unequivocally relocating to review about a immeasurable differences between afterwards and now, and a chairman being subjected to a very, unequivocally odious culture.
BOOKS: Do we frequently review biographies?
ALS: we do, generally if I’m writing. Then we don’t wish to understanding with another writer’s sensibility, though we still wish to read. Biographies are safe. It’s also stirring to review about someone else’s failures while we are failing.
BOOKS: Do we have a favorite biography?
ALS: we consider Gerald Clarke’s autobiography of Truman Capote is amazing. we like unequivocally aged biographies, such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s autobiography of her crony Charlotte Brontë. Quentin Bell’s autobiography of his aunt Virginia Woolf has adequate sensibility to keep we amused though not adequate to make we feel bad about your possess writing. Michael Holroyd’s autobiography of Lytton Strachey is extraordinary in terms of describing these teenager total in a large world.
‘Biographies are safe. It’s also stirring to review about someone else’s failures while we are failing.’
BOOKS: Do we review mostly about literary figures?
ALS: we like reading about painters too, such as David Sylvester’s good work on Francis Bacon and James Lord’s autobiography of Giacometti.
BOOKS: What do we review when we aren’t writing?
ALS: we only wish to review voices. we went by an heated Samuel Taylor Coleridge proviso recently. Jamaica Kincaid is a good favorite. So are Elizabeth Bishop, Marcel Proust, Jane Bowles, W. H. Auden’s essays, Robert Lowell, James Baldwin, of course, and a producer Marianne Moore. Those are a people we spin to a lot. And there’s a Gwendolyn Brooks poem we read, “In a Mecca.”
BOOKS: Do we review most contemporary fiction?
ALS: No, though I’m removing some-more into it. One contemporary author we adore is Herta Müller. we consider she’s fantastic. we feel like a dumbbell in a way, that we need some-more of a education in English novel before we pierce forward.
BOOKS: What would make we collect adult a book?
ALS: If it pertains to something else I’m reading. I’m a good cranky indexer of reading. If we discuss that a Robert Altman autobiography had a territory on what he read, we would wish to review what he was reading.
BOOKS: Do we keep any anxiety or how-to books?
ALS: The thing that we have that we unequivocally value is a compendium that belonged to Katharine White, a novella editor during The New Yorker. we have cookbooks by Alice Waters and an aged Larousse cookbook. Those are my anxiety books. The sorcery of a mechanism is that we can demeanour things adult so quickly. we live in a tiny space, and we don’t wish people to have to understanding with my books after we die.
BOOKS: Is there a book we have endorsed a lot?
ALS: There’s this extraordinary book called “The Black Book” put together by Middleton A. Harris and edited by Toni Morrison in 1974. It’s a kind of manuscript of black life in America. It’s a unequivocally good book. I’ve endorsed Diane Keaton’s discourse “Then Again” an awful lot. It’s unequivocally great. we give Simone Weil’s “Waiting for God” to people a lot since it’s such a pleasing book about faith.
BOOKS: What’s on your arriving list?
ALS: we consider I’m going to review Judith Thurman’s book about Colette, “Secrets of a Flesh.” we don’t know anything about her, and we have never unequivocally review her work.
BOOKS: What’s on your bucket list?
ALS: “Middlemarch’’! I’ve got to do it.
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