by John Yargo
Read the stories. Read the novels. Just read Hrabal.0
by Hannah Gersen
Wood sees the eruption of Tambora and its devastating after-effects as a case study for rapid climate change, arguing that the years post-Tambora offer “a rare, clear window onto a world convulsed by weather extremes, with human communities everywhere struggling to adapt to sudden, radical shifts in temperatures and rainfall.”1
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Mark O'Connell looks at Tommy Wiseau’s "The Room". the "Face-Palm Fresco Affair" and explores the secrets of viral fame.Buy for $1.99
Cory Arcangel‘s Working on My Novel is composed solely of tweets from people who (one is led to assume) are engaged in the singularly tragic enterprise of writing books that, unlike Working on My Novel, will take years to complete, yet won’t be published by Penguin or noticed by The Paris Review. Oh, the meta-irony. And now I’ve just honored it with a Curiosities post.
In May, poet David Lehman wrote the first line of a sonnet about cubicle anomie and began crowdsourcing the rest. The completed 12-week project at The American Scholar is not merely a pretty great piece on its own, but a lesson in how to write one, line by line: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8/9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. You can submit your title suggestion as late as midnight on Sunday, but we suggest getting a start on it now, while the prison of work is still fresh in mind. (h/t The New York Times)
Book Cover Roundup, Item #1: Each year The Millions publishes a high stakes face-off between the UK and US covers of books featured in The Morning News’ Tournament of Books (2014, 2013, 2012). Now, for Sarah Hemfrey’s research on book covers in the publishing industry, it’s your turn to be the judge. Item #2: if Harry Potter is more your style, that whole series is getting new cover designs, too.
Recently, we featured five writers’ reminisces about the novels they ultimately shelved. Here a sixth, Elmo Keep, explains what led her to throw away her first novel, quite outside considerations of craft:”I could not resolve the conflict of a story that was not mine.”
You probably knew a Lothario was a character before his name grew into a generic euphemism for “Guy You Don’t Want Your Daughter Dating,” but what about “brainiac,” “mentor,” and “pamphlet”? It turns out character names have been making their way into everyday vocabulary for thousands of years.
The work of literary cartoonist Grant Snider has been featured in such places as the New York Times and Electric Literature (part 2, part 3). We also love this comic on poetry. But don’t wait for the curators to endorse your dose of comic cheer–every one of these pieces can be seen on Snider’s Tumblr page.
A while back, we reviewed an anthology of work by American poets laureate–that is, those appointed by the President to serve the entire United States. But there are 45 currently-serving state poets laureate, and thousands of city, county, and other poets laureate as well. What exactly do they do?
The work of Elvio Gandolfo, whose novel Cada vez más cerca (“Each Time Closer”) won Argentina’s equivalent of the Pulitzer in 2013, is rarely published in English. So it’s a special treat to find his magical story about a whale falling out of the sky, newly translated for the anthology A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, available free at Ninth Letter.
Our own Bill Morris (the man Michiko Kakutani once compared favorably to John Updike) is hitting the road in support of his novel Motor City Burning, and you can catch him now as he swings through the South before heading to the Midwest. Elsewhere, see what Detroit’s hometown paper learned from Bill about a novel that mines the city’s fractious history.
0~C. Max Magee
20 Under 40 alum and A Better Angel author Chris Adrian teamed up with Eli Horowitz to publish a digital novel with Atavist Books. The novel, titled The New World, employs new storytelling techniques made possible by Atavist software. It’s worth remembering here that the first book Atavist published was written by fellow 20-Under-40er Karen Russell.
Can’t wait for Haruki Murakami’s new novel? You’re in luck: Slate just published an exclusive excerpt from the book. Sample quote: “No matter how quiet and conformist a person’s life seems, there’s always a time in the past when they reached an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives.” (You could also read Ben Dooley’s review of 1Q84.)
Our own Nick Ripatrazone has been on a roll lately. Apart from the many articles he’s written for The Millions, he’s got a forthcoming collection of short fiction that includes works he published in Esquire and The Kenyon Review. He also published a new poem, “South Africa, 1988,” at The Nervous Breakdown, which you can read in conjunction with his self-interview.
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Read More The Millions Top 10 June 2014
Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
The Son Philipp Meyer
Bark Lorrie Moore
The Good Lord Bird James McBride
Just Kids Patti Smith
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Eleanor & Park Rainbow Rowell
Jesus' Son Denis Johnson