paper trail

James B. Comey is writing a book

Christopher Bollen

James B. Comey is writing a book about his career as a public servant. According to the New York Times, “the book will not be a conventional tell-all memoir, but an exploration of the principles that have guided Mr. Comey through some of the most challenging moments of his legal career.” Those moments include his experiences as deputy attorney general (he refused to declare legal the NSA’s domestic-surveillance program), his days as a US Attorney (when he prosecuted Martha Stewart), and his tenure as the head of the FBI, when he investigated Hillary Clinton’s private email server and attempted to look into ways in which Russia could have interfered with the 2016 election. Comey hasn’t signed a book deal yet, but he has two literary agents, Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer of the Javelin agency, and he has been meeting with publishers.

Novelist and Interview editor Christopher Bollen, whose latest book is The Destroyers, gives a compelling and entertaining interview at the Creative Independent. “You have to be a certain kind of person to write a novel. It’s sort of a demented and warped way of living. On beautiful days when your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to go outside to a park, you have to shut the door in their face and sit down, now without cigarettes, and just type away at something.”

Sherman Alexie has canceled the remaining dates of his current reading tour, which was organized to promote his new memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (it is named after the Dusty Springfield song). The book depicts his relationship with his mother, and Alexie says that he cannot, for the time being, confront feelings about this “complicated and difficult person” in public. “So here I am—the son and the mother combined—who needs to take a big step back and do most of my grieving in private,” Alexie writes. “My memoir is still out there for you to read. And, when I am strong enough, I will return to the road. I will return to the memoir. And I know I will have new stories to tell about my mother and her ghost.”

Colm Toibin talks about his new novel The House of Names (which draws on Aeschylus’s Oresteia Trilogy), how drinking affects writing, and an unlikely quality that defines the new White House: “The strange part of the White House drama is they are all Irish except for Trump,” Toibin told The Guardian. “Flynn, Kelly, Bannon, Spicer, Conway, Hannity, O’Reilly and Ryan. Those Irish faces everywhere, I knew 10 of each of them at school. But the Irish have always been Democrats…”

Malcolm Gladwell discusses the guiding principle behind his podcast Revisionist History. “I just wanted an excuse to talk about whatever was on my mind and whatever I came across,” Gladwell says of the podcast, in which he has dwelled on political satire, the Pentagon, and golf courses. “That was the genesis of the idea, that between those two words—‘revisionist’ and ‘history’—you can talk about anything under the sun.”