Articles by Bill Morris

November 21, 2011

Battle of the Heavyweights: Errol Morris vs. Susan Sontag 6

Book lovers love to watch two heavyweights slug it out. Bloodshed, though not necessary, is always welcome.

November 4, 2011

A Small Gallery of Literary Giants 24

Since I’m convinced that people tend to be more interesting once they’re dead, obituaries have always been my favorite part of the newspaper. So whenever a noteworthy writer died, I started drawing the picture that accompanied the obit, eventually adding drawings of noteworthy long-dead writers. Here, then, is a gallery of a few of those literary giants, along with brief explanations of what was going through my head as my pen was fashioning their heads.

November 2, 2011

William Kennedy’s Long Dry Spell Ends with Chango’s Beads and Two-Toned Shoes 3

Along the way there will be a duel, a failed assassination attempt, gun-running, Santeria rituals, kidnapping, torture, scorching sex, and, finally, a coveted interview with Fidel Castro. The storytelling has the irresistible pull of a riptide.

October 28, 2011

Seven Reasons Why Alexandre Dumas Will Never Die 5

If every smart person’s goal in life is to die broke, then Dumas was an unqualified success. But while a lesser man would have bemoaned the cruelties of fate that left him penniless on his deathbed, Dumas had this to say about death as it approached him in 1870: “I shall tell her a story, and she will be kind to me.”

October 13, 2011

OWS and the Press 0

How do you spell t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n? Our recent stories about the spreading Occupy Wall Street protests seem to be part of a trend. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that the protests accounted for only 7% of coverage in all news media nationwide in the past week — but that’s a four-fold […]

October 10, 2011

The Eclectic Reading List at Occupy Wall Street 12

Everyone knows that you are what you read. So to learn more about the protesters who have been occupying Wall Street for the past three weeks, it makes sense to find out what they’re reading.

October 3, 2011

A Poet Laureate from the Proletariat: An Appreciation of Philip Levine 9

I came upon a book of poems that proved to me that art can be made from absolutely anything, from a night-shift job at Chevy Gear & Axle or a job picking Gravenstein apples.

September 21, 2011

The Slow Cookers 0

Dwight Garner, writing in the current issue of The New York Times Magazine, laments that so many high-end American novelists seem to be working on “the nine-year plan,” delivering a new novel roughly once a decade. He cites Jeffrey Eugenides, who will be out soon with The Marriage Plot, his third novel in 18 years, […]

September 21, 2011

A Documentary for Our Times: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 8

As the divisions of class and race continue to harden and widen in this country, I say we could use more leaders like Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis, with their beautiful, hard-earned fury.

September 13, 2011

The German Solution: Saving Books by Keeping Them Expensive 33

There seemed to be no end to the variety of bookshops in Cologne. But they all had one thing in common: they were thriving.