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Posts Tagged: novels

The Golden Age of Second Novels

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Despite the challenges writers face with debut novels, the second novel is generally considered the most difficult to write. Some second novels fail to exceed the first, and plenty of authors never even write a second novel. But we might be living in the golden age of sophomore novels, declares Bill Morris over at The Millions. He cites Rachel Kushner, Jonathan Miles, and Charles McNair as examples of successful second novelists, adding:

Of course one could argue that a half dozen books do not constitute a trend or herald a new golden age.

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You’re Jonathan Franzen or You’re Nobody

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“I write because I’ve always wanted to know what bankruptcy feels like.”

John Winters gives his sobering reaction to the hotly debated “MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction,” in his essay, “Why I Write: 2014 Edition.” He details the emerging culture in burgeoning novelists produced by MFA programs, whether NYC is really the best place for a writer to be, and why he keeps writing despite the tough economic climate.

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How to Scientifically Predict a Novel’s Success

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It’s impossible to predict what will make a book sell well, but scientists at Stony Brook University think they might be on the right track.

After conducting statistical analyses of novels from several genres, they were able to predict with 84% accuracy whether a book was “highly successful” based on certain elements of style such as “discourse connectives” and “verbs that describe thought-processing.”

Of course, there’s a pretty large degree of subjectivity inherent in any study of this nature, but it’s still interesting stuff to think about.

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A Helpful Flowchart for All Aspiring Novelists

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“Are you absolutely, positively, and wholeheartedly ready to publish your novel?”

Then you’re gonna need this flowchart, created by Ryan Lewis and Anna Hurley for 826 National and highlighted by our co-owner Isaac Fitzgerald on Buzzfeed.

It’ll help you figure out whether to dedicate your book to “that barista with the really cool forearm tattoo” and whether Kinko’s employees are trustworthy literary critics.

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Percival Everett on Franzen, Sexism and The Great American Novel

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“I do not believe that apparent authoritative literary voices of validation would ever make such a grand claim about a novel written by a woman.  I say this because I believe there are many novels by women that are about the same sort of world as presented in Freedom.  Sadly, the culture usually calls these books domestic or family sagas.  Are the novels of Anne Tyler, Marilynne Robinson and Mona Simpson any less white and middle “American” than Franzen”

At VIDA, author Percival Everett explores the big assumptions and unpsoken prejudices behind Great American Novels (like Freedom.) (Via)

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The Unsettling Visions Of Thomas Disch

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“Fantasy is not avoidable. The very act of writing fiction is a sin, a lie. One of Disch’s most haunting stories, ‘Getting Into Death,’ is about a writer (one who uses two pseudonyms, at least one of which Disch used himself) who orchestrates her death by fabricating warmth and sentiment toward everyone she has ever known, creating a surfeit of charmingly mawkish moments.

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Celebrate The Anniversary Of A Wonderful Book

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There is nothing quite like reading Little, Big, John Crowley’s epic and elegantly subtle fantasy novel about a New England family and their mystifying relationship with the Fairy World.

In language and style and vision, in action that veers from the curiously fantastic to the magically mundane, this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read, and something I’ll reread at least a dozen times more.

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A Bosnian Novelist And An Irish Novelist Walk Into A Bar

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If you have any  doubts about the power of the novel, or its lasting cultural significance, or its transcendent ability to deepen and enrich our chaotic earthly experiences, look no further than this impassioned conversation at The Believer between two of our most exciting novelists, Colum McCann and Alexander Hemon.

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Why Do Scandinavians Seek The Darkness?

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One of the biggest selling, most highly-praised novels at my bookstore right now is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Since it just came out in paperback, we’ve been selling like six of them a week. Based on reading the book’s blurbs and hearing about it from customers and coworkers, it appears that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, although ostensibly a thriller and a mystery, is also one of those rare, genre-defying gems that makes it confusing to know where to shelve it: mystery or literature?

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