Articles by Bill Morris

February 3, 2011

Staff Pick: Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live 5

It’s a ripping story, splashed with bloody horrors and punctuated by moments of serene beauty.

January 26, 2011

Jay-Z is Not a Proudhon of Hip-Hop 9

All art comes from art.  To admit this is not to concede that there’s no such thing as originality any more than it’s a license to borrow without attribution and then call it your own. 

January 14, 2011

When We Aspire to Write Like Ourselves: A Conversation with Carl H. Klaus 13

I wanted to see if I could create literary non-fiction out of short-term memory.

December 28, 2010

Will You Beat Hagiographers Please Be Quiet, Please? 11

The army of Beat hagiographers operates under the illusion that dissecting the personal lives of writers is essential to – even preferable to – understanding their writing.

December 5, 2010

A Year in Reading: Bill Morris 3

This has been my year of reading genre-ously.

November 24, 2010

The Last Pen Pal 5

While mankind strives to improve itself to death, some of us want no part of it.

November 8, 2010

Elmore Leonard Knows What to Leave Out of Djibouti 7

Walker Percy was a big Elmore Leonard fan.  Way back in 1987, during the high noon of a career that has now reached its rich and plummy twilight, Percy asked: “Why is Elmore Leonard so good?”  Percy answered: “He doesn’t stick to the same guy in the same place.”

November 3, 2010

Gay Talese’s The Silent Season of a Hero is Sports Writing That’s Destined to Last 0

Even more fascinating to Talese than failure is the murky downslope of greatness, the twilight of storied careers, the ways stars must struggle to get their bearings after the cheering stops.

October 27, 2010

The Sorry State of the Rejection Letter 40

Sad but true, the rejection letter, like so many things in book publishing, is a shadow of what it used to be.

October 14, 2010

James Ross and The Agony of the One-Hit Wonder 13

James Ross published just one novel in his lifetime.  This is a rare thing because of a paradox that lies at the heart of novel writing: it demands such sustained focus, such persistence, so much raw pig-headed stubbornness that anyone who does it once almost invariably does it again, and again, and again.  Once is almost never enough.