Bethany Barton photographed by D'Avello Photography.
If Bethany Barton were a spider, she knows exactly which species she’d be.
“Definitely the peacock spider: he’s colorful, he’s fuzzy, he does a little dance,” Barton says by phone from L.A. “Have you ever seen a peacock spider dance?! You have to go to YouTube right now. It’s cool—I’ll hold.”
(She’s serious. Go click on “Peacock Spider Dances to YMCA” right now. It’s incredible.)
“Right?! It’s maybe the happiest thing in the world. He’s ...
Fred Goodman photographed by Janet Goodman.
James Neff photographed by John Lok.
James Neff’s new history of Jimmy Hoffa’s criminal underworld, Bobby Kennedy’s efforts to prosecute him, and their ensuing rivalry took the author a decade to write. The long gestation of Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa was largely due to how slow the gangsters and the Senate Archives were to give up the goods.
“Much of the best stuff wasn’t available when I signed the original deal with Little, Brown,” says Neff, who was still obtaining original documents he ...
Julia Pierpont photographed by Shiva Rouhani.
Julia Pierpont’s Among the Ten Thousand Things opens with a letter to a wife from her husband’s lover.
“I began sleeping with your husband last June. We were together for seven months, almost as long as I’ve known him,” Pierpont writes. “We did it in my apartment. Or I went to his studio, a lot. One time at the Comfort Inn in midtown, last August. He used his Visa. Look it up.”
The twisted missive accompanies ...
The author of PRETTY IS describes her inspirations
Maggie Mitchell photographed by Jill Sutton.
Words I missed in the course of my spelling bee career, between the ages of 11 and 14: Vichyssoise. Oenologist. Creel. Narcissism.
I had no acquaintance with French cuisine, or viniculture, or the accoutrements of fishermen: the first three words could be excused. But narcissism? That one has always felt like an ironic nudge, a slightly barbed private joke. Wasn’t it admiration I was seeking on the spelling bee circuit, in my own hapless, nerdy way? And doesn’t that boil ...
Daniel José Older photographed by Ashley Ford.
Summer’s hot promise is in the air when I arrive at Alice’s Arbor to meet Daniel José Older. Situated in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, it’s a welcoming bistro where the relaxed staff is glad to let you be part of the understated vibe, a good thing since I just might want to listen to Older talk for hours over endless iced tea. The neighborhood of Bed-Stuy is the anchoring setting of his debut teen novel, Shadowshaper. “The impulse for the book ...
Author of SPEAK
Loiusa Hall photographed by Bonnie Berry.
A few weeks ago, a publishing sales representative visited the bookstore where I work. He lives on the West Coast, but he was in Houston for personal reasons: a family member was receiving treatment at the Texas Medical Center. Yet despite the tough spot in his life, he became animated about books, telling me about one in particular: “Have you read Speak yet? It’s amazing—and it’s not even my book!” What he meant was, he didn’t work for Speak ...
Lidia Yuknavitch photographed by Andrew Kovalev.
The girl comes alive in the white of the snow and on the white of the page in Lidia Yuknavitch’s incendiary new novel, The Small Backs of Children. It’s a story as fragmented as the fallout from the bomb that obliterated the girl’s family yet as interconnected as the lived experiences that bind the far-flung female artists populating Yuknavitch’s universe. In a war-torn Eastern European country, an American photographer captures the exact moment the girl becomes an orphan and the ...