by John Yargo
One reason that Joan Chase has slipped into obscurity, while her rough contemporaries Robinson, Mason, and Mantel have ascended, is the relative infrequency with which she publishes.2
by Paul Morton
You don’t become a war reporter because you love war. You report on war because it expands and complicates our idea of what war is. As a Nigerian-American who lives in the United States, I would like to complicate our sense of what Nigeria is, of what Lagos is, of what Africa is like.0
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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
For the most part, the scariest thing you can do in a choose your own adventure book is choose to enter a cave. At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg shows us what choose your own adventure would’ve looked like if it were historically accurate. “It is daytime. Turn to page 19. Page 19: You have died in childbirth.”
Recommended Reading: The Missouri Review’s new poem of the week, Kai Carlson-Wee’s “Jesse James Days,” which also won its 2013 Editors’ Prize. “If I carried your name to the skateparks and railroad temples of rust, would you come to me, brother.”
Although Gabriel García Márquez died last week, there might be a new story on the way. According to his editor, Márquez left behind one manuscript, “We’ll See Each Other in August,” that he didn’t intend to publish, and his family is still deciding whether to honor his wishes.
Shakespeare invented more than 1,000 words when he was writing, and now we might be able to find out how. Two New York booksellers believe they have found Shakespeare’s annotated dictionary, John Baret’s An Alvearie or Quadruple Dictionarie. Although scholars aren’t quite convinced, you can read the dictionary in full to decide for yourself.
Keeping track of the art mentioned in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is almost as difficult as keeping track of Boris. Fortunately, Laura Petelle made a Pinterest board of all the art in the novel, complete with excerpts. Start reading from the bottom up, and beware of spoilers.
Recommended Viewing: Year in Reading alumna Rachel Fershleiser’s TED talk “Why I heart the Bookternet” on building reading communities through the internet. “The more tools that we get for communication and collaboration, the more we’re taking reading and writing — these really solitary pursuits — and building communities around them for connection and conversation.”
If you’re eagerly anticipating the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, be prepared to wait until 2034. You can blame the internet for the delay, which has made research easier but also leads to information overload. There are so many new words that the dictionary would be 40 volumes if it ever makes it to print, but expect it to be only online instead. For more on the new OED, read a profile of new editor Michael Proffitt.
Recently, it seemed hard to find a book not blurbed by Gary Shteyngart. He did blurb 150 books in the past decade. Yet now the author has decided to mostly retire from blurbing, he announced in The New Yorker. “Literature can and will go on without my mass blurbing. Perhaps it may even improve.” Pair with: Our own Bill Morris’s essay on whether or not to blurb.
The New Yorker has published another recently discovered Shirley Jackson short story “The Man in the Woods,” a fairy tale that takes on some classic mythology. According to her son, it’s one of many new stories found in her archives, and we can expect a new collection next year. “What was surprising to us was not that she was so prolific and had left behind so much unseen work but, rather, the quality of that work,” Laurence Jackson Hyman said.
One of the more persnickety questions a writer has to deal with is how to capitalize the title of a piece correctly. Thankfully, there’s now a website that does it for you, based on the rules in the Chicago Manual of Style.
Is “literary” fiction just a product of clever marketing? Elizabeth Edmondson thinks it is. At The Guardian, she argues that classically literary authors like Jane Austen had no idea they were writing Literature — posterity classified their work as such later on. Her essay dovetails nicely with our own Edan Lepucki’s argument that literature is a genre.
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Read More The Millions Top 10 March 2014
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
Selected Stories Alice Munro
The Flamethrowers Rachel Kushner
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton
Draw it With Your Eyes Closed Paper Monument/n+1
The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose Alice Munro
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri
Just Kids Patti Smith
Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
The Circle Dave Eggers