Curiosities

January 20, 2015

Dark Thoughts 0

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If you know that Patricia Highsmith wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley, you know that she’s an exceptional authority on the workings of the criminal mind. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Piepenbring digs up an old interview with the author, in which she describes the act of murder as “the opposite of freedom.” You could […]

January 20, 2015

Man-Keyv 0

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Emily Dickinson wrote her poetry in a house in Amherst. Mark Twain wrote many of his best works on his estate in Connecticut. And Geoffrey Chaucer, it turns out, wrote in a cramped bachelor pad, nestled in the east side of the wall surrounding London. In The Spectator, a reading of Paul Strohm’s Chaucer’s Tale, […]

January 20, 2015

Tuesday New Release Day: Crummey; Beauman; Yan; Wisniewski; Kapoor; Galera; Hulse; Hooper; Greenberg; Whitehouse 0

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Out this week: Sweetland by Michael Crummey; Glow by Ned Beauman; Frog by the Nobel laureate Mo Yan; Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski; A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor; Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera; Black River by S.M. Hulse; Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper; My Father’s Wives by the ESPN host […]

January 19, 2015

“The particular loneliness of corporate chain restaurants” 0

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Recommended Reading: Charles Thaxton on Merritt Tierce’s Love Me Back.

January 19, 2015

Musical Theories 0

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We’ve written a fair bit about the By the Book series at the Times. You can read a selection of the best entries in a collection published by the paper. This week, the series featured another novel guest: Alan Gilbert, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Sample quote: “I don’t seek out books about […]

January 19, 2015

The Pointless Adventure 0

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Many writing guides feature long explainers that detial how to craft a great plot. They’ve turned the phrase “rising action” into a buzzword in many classes. At Page-Turner, a short comic illustrating major plots that don’t work, including one in which the protagonist “ignores the problem until it goes away.”

January 18, 2015

Genuinely Weird 0

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Jeff Vandermeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy: a genuinely weird work of ecological fiction, a hyper-object, or a strangely beautiful “glimpse of a whole that’s, by its nature, unknowable”? Joshua Rothman argues for all three in a review for The New Yorker. For more from Vandermeer himself, check out his Millions interview with Richard House, author of […]

January 18, 2015

Rachel Kushner and the Costa Concordia 0

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Recommended reading: Rachel Kushner writes about the Costa Concordia disaster, cruise ships in general, and her own short-lived “aspiration to spend time at sea as requisite literary training” for The London Review of Books.

January 18, 2015

Updike the Cartoonist 0

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“Updike stopped cartooning while he was an undergraduate at Harvard. This is a factually true statement, but it ignores a larger reality. While Updike might have ceased cartooning, the visual language of comics was never far from his mind. Cartooning was an inextricable strand in his creative DNA.” Jeet Heer writes about John Updike, cartooning, […]

January 17, 2015

Crowdsourced Epic 0

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Recommended reading: On “Homer’s Crowdsourced Genius.”