Over at The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone asked some authors, including William Giraldi and Christa Parravani, which were the books that defined their childhoods and, subsequently, their writing imaginations....more
The union effort prompted my discovery of an egregious pay discrepancy, which I brought up with male writers and editors to their either mild interest or argumentative dismissal.
Cheryl Strayed has inspired so many readers with her wise sayings, it was only a matter of time before someone collected them. The author of Brave Enough talks to Brian Lehrer about growth, fear, and moving forward:
All the best things I’ve done in my life have been scary… You have to learn how to carry it with you.
A Paris bookseller writes about the terror attacks. Parisians, meanwhile, are responding to the terror attacks by buying up all the copies of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.
Iranian bookstores opened early on Thursday last week in a campaign to encourage reading in the country....more
While most debut novelists are seeing advances shrink, a handful of authors are seeing the reverse: million-dollar paydays. Consider Garth Risk Hallberg‘s City on Fire, released earlier this year. The 900-plus-page book earned a $2m advance. The novel will have to sell more then 300,000 copies to earn back the money....more
For Electric Literature, novelist Noy Holland explores what it means to label (and often dismiss) writing as “experimental.” Holland notes the subjectivity and mess inherent in language and form, and why writing that aims for clarity might sacrifice authenticity in the process:
At The Awl, Annie Abrams gives the history of a 19th-century newspaper, Di Anglo-Sacsun, and its editors’ attempts to make literacy more available to the public, by developing their own phonetic alphabet that the newspaper was written in. Abrams also dives into the controversy surrounding the name of the paper:
Andrews and Boyle pointedly explained that they did not choose the title “in a partisan or national spirit, or with a view to render prominent the dysfunction between the different branches of the human brotherhood,” but instead “because it seems to us to contain a proper allusion to the language which it is our primary object to reform.”
The New York Times’s Alexandra Alter interviews “America’s foremost public intellectual” and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates on his newfound success and public hail—which he both appreciates and is ambivalent about, it seems:
The best part of writing is really to educate yourself.
[T]he long short story/novella is a fantastic medium for story, one that is uniquely suited to the online platform.
The New Yorker has begun a new online series, New Yorker Novella, to be comprised of novellas the magazine wasn’t “able to fit into print but couldn’t imagine letting go of.” Kicking things off is Callan Wink’s In Hindsight, and a supplementary interview with the author about the piece....more
Rumpus Interviews Editor Ben Pfeiffer discusses the complete loss of hope in Anton Chekhov’s literary works, in relation to modern TV shows such as The Leftovers and The Walking Dead. Pfeiffer wonders why people have continued to, watch, read, and create these dark, despairing works when we already live in a world of tragedy:
…a dispassionate search for truth isn’t just one kind of artists’ quest — it’s also a habit one must cultivate.
In the Saturday Essay, Anna March takes an unflinching look at the historical film Suffragette, which attempts to portray the women who took part in the suffrage movement during the early 1900s. While the film does draw attention to feminist successes, it glosses over the flaws of early activists, such as Susan B....more
Matthew Wills writes for JSTOR Daily on the romcom interpretation of King Lear. Wills brings to attention the fact that for almost two centuries, a version of Shakespeare’s Lear by poet Nahum Tate, one with little tragedy and a happy ending, was almost the only version seen on stage until the mid-19th century....more
At the Paris Review, H.S. Cross analyzes Ernest Raymond’s 1922 novel, Tell England. He explores the unique and charged relationships between a schoolteacher, Radley, and his students, Ray and Doe. The boys have an unexpected and, at least initially, seemingly erotic reverence for their teacher, which, Cross concludes, reflects the confusing and sacrificial relationship between man and God:
As surprising as it is to arrive at sacramental theology from Doe’s flamboyant disclosure, a metaphysical perspective provides the most coherent reading of Radley and Ray.
Catherine Lacey, Jee Leong Koh, and Jenna Telesca join the Oh, Bernice reading series....more
Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting [my book list] with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.
Have you read Esquire’s list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read”?...more
But it was another truth — the humility of that kitchen, confronting what I didn’t know — that has felt most resonant across my writing life.
This week, Bryan Hurt gives us a fabulist story in which CEOs practice blood sacrifice to ensure quarterly profits. (Believable.) The story, “Contract,” went up on Lit Hub on Wednesday and is part of Hurt’s debut collection Everyone Wants to Be Ambassador to France, winner the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction....more
NPR traces the history of Stephen King’s Misery from the novel, to the film, and, most recently, to the stage, and argues that this journey may have caused the story t0 lose a few key components:
It is almost literally drained of blood and, more important, it is drained of urgency.