Your essential reads from the past week, curated by Esquire's editorial team.
1 | Tennessee Williams. F Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway. Cheever. Carver. Berryman. Linked not just their pre-eminence as American writers, but by a life-long battle with alcohol. The Trip to Echo Spring, a new book by Olivia Laing, explores each of these battles in turn and considers why we romanticise the link between creativity and booze. Extract in The Guardian.
2 | American author and journalist George Saunders was invited to give a speech to the graduating students at Syracuse University this year. He seized the opportunity to be a "old fart" by ruminating on the importance of kindness, the nature of success and accidentally swimming in monkey shit. From The New York Times.
3 | Gary Shteyngart, the American author and satirist, is the perfect narrator through whom to learn about Google Glass. His account of travelling through New York whilst wearing a pair is written with a wonderful light touch, while still managing to address the anxieties of using technology that turns you into a half-man, half-machine. From The New Yorker.
4 | Ahead of the start of this year's Edinburgh festival, John McDermott reflects on the current state of his home city, its politics, infrastructure and culture, asking: 'Confident or in crisis – what kind of city will festival goers find?'. From the Financial Times.
5 | "A minute before he died, Hervé le Gallou stood at the edge of a cliff at Obiou, in the French Alps, with acres of thin air before him." Award-winning writer Ed Caesar on spectacular form recounting the story of a basejumper who lost his life in 2012. From The New York Times.