This week in the books section, I put two very different books together and look at how they're actually very similar. The first book is Eileen Myles's memoir/novel Inferno.

Inferno at times resembles a juicy tell-all memoir (it's virtually impossible for the reader to detect which, if any, parts of the book are fiction), and Myles names names throughout: As a young poet on tour, she develops an intense dislike of the cult of celebrity surrounding a very young on-her-way-up Kathy Acker, portraying her as a scene-diddling (and somewhat shrewd) opportunist. Not that Myles doesn't wrestle with her own spotlight-­grabbing shock-poet tendencies; her poem titled "On the Death of Robert Lowell" begins with this line: "Oh, I don't give a shit."

I compare Myles with cartoonist Julia Wertz (whose new memoir, Drinking at the Movies, came out a few weeks ago). I come to the conclusion that maybe the young-artist-moves-to-the-big-city narrative that used to be the province of poets now belongs to cartoonists. Wertz is very funny—she's one of the few cartoonists who can regularly make me laugh out loud—and she's getting better at layering her work with depth, truly making it into a narrative while at the same time telling a familiar story in a new, exciting way.

And if that's not enough for you, I review The Novel: Live!, which 36 authors wrote onstage at the Hugo House a couple weeks ago. Unsurprisingly, it reads like a book that was written by 36 different people in short two-hour chunks:

The Novel: Live! proves nothing so much as the value of a careful and thorough rewriting process to a coherent and enjoyable reading experience. Unfortunately, it proves that importance by exclusion.

All that and much more in the Books section.