Eve Babitz’s Literary Legacy, New York City’s Favorite Reads, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Eve Babitz, the legendary chronicler of Los Angeles “who wrote with sharp wit and a connoisseur’s enthusiasm of its outsize characters and sensuous pleasures,” has died. The author of works such as Eve’s Hollywood and Slow Days, Fast Company, she depicted her city and the intimacies of her life with “luxurious, undulating prose.” Babitz won a new generation of readers in recent years after the reissue of several of her older titles. She passed away on December 17. (New York Times)

For the Los Angeles Times, Matthew Specktor reflects on Babitz’s literary legacy, the seriousness that underpinned the exuberance of her work, and her “sharp insights into the broader condition of being (briefly) alive.”

“As a short story writer, you present a knot that the character is twisted into, and somehow you want to pick at that knot and loosen up—at least a little bit—that person emotionally.” In an interview for Electric Literature, Lily King describes how plot arcs serve emotional arcs in the stories of her collection, Five Tuesdays in Winter.

“I came up in the business in an era when businesses weren’t supposed to be ‘political,’ an idea I really hated. Why should a business not take a stand?” Leslie Shipman, founder and president of the Shipman Agency, talks with Amy Gall about piloting the agency through the pandemic and rooting her business in her beliefs. (Don’t Write Alone)

New York City’s three public library systems have revealed the books most borrowed by their readers in 2021. Favorites across the boroughs include Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, and Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds. “2021 was a significant year, and the books that New Yorkers chose to read to accompany them on their journey through that year are equally significant,” says Anthony W. Marx, president of the New York City Public Library.

Novelist Edwidge Danticat speaks with director Gessica Généus about her film Freda, telling the stories of youth in contemporary Haiti, and relating the joys and hardships that are “the water we drink every day.” (New York Review of Books)

“Limp, insipid, and apathetic.” “A dumbass bore.” “Anemic, even undead.” Literary Hub presents its annual roundup of the year’s most caustic book reviews, including takedowns of Blake Bailey’s “oozing hagiography of Philip Roth” and Mitch Albom’s “latest cavity-inducing parable.”

Editors note: Daily News will not be published from December 22 to December 31. Coverage will resume January 3.