Curiosities

April 2, 2014

Pulling an Updike 0

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Authors are known to mine material from their personal relationships for their writing, but John Updike found inspiration from his interviews. After journalist William Ecenbarger wrote a profile of Updike in 1983, he found himself the subject of an Updike short story. Pair with: Our review of Updike’s Collected Stories.

April 2, 2014

Waffle House Accuracy 1

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If your characters go on a road trip, do you have to take one, too? When Mary Miller wrote The Last Days of California about a family driving from Alabama to California to meet the rapture, she hadn’t even been to the desert herself. To ensure it was accurate, though, she mapped important destinations on […]

April 2, 2014

Karen Joy Fowler wins 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award 0

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Karen Joy Fowler has won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. A celebratory dinner will be held in her honor on May 10.

April 2, 2014

Beckett’s Bones 0

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80 years ago Samuel Beckett’s publisher rejected his short story “Echo’s Bones” because it gave him the “jim-jams.” The 13,500-word piece on the afterlife was intended for More Pricks Than Kicks until his editor Charles Prentice claimed, “People will shudder and be puzzled and confused; and they won’t be keen on analysing the shudder.” Fortunately, it […]

April 2, 2014

The Opposite of #AmWriting 0

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Writing a novel is an all-consuming project, so can you imagine not telling anyone? At The New York Times, Alice Mattison discusses keeping her novels secrets until at least the third draft. “If I talk about the book, I believe — I cannot help believing — my characters will be angry, and will no longer […]

April 2, 2014

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Film Them 0

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If eight Harry Potter movies weren’t enough, we can expect three new Warner Brothers films about J.K. Rowling’s spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The trilogy will feature the magical zoologist Newt Scamander as he goes on adventures in New York 70 years prior to the Potter characters.

April 2, 2014

Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys Arrives 1

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After some initial mystery leading up to publication, Michael Lewis’s new book Flash Boys is here and its subject is high-speed trading (sometimes called “high-frequency trading) that uses supercomputers and complex trading algorithms to attempt to generate profits through brute force. Lewis has become the most popular writer on Wall Street, giving readers a look […]

April 1, 2014

The Chosen Ones 0

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“The second prophecy was even more intense than the first one, and introduced a lot of new rules I didn’t even know existed, but everyone else seemed to kind of already know about them. But you know what? We’re a misfit band of teens who will do anything for each other now, like stand up […]

April 1, 2014

Playing the Victim 0

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The Empathy Exams, a new collection of essays by Leslie Jamison, gets its title from a piece about medical acting that was published in The Believer. On the Harper’s blog, you can read an interview with Jamison, who calls her collection “a refusal to choose between these approaches — criticism, confession, journalism.” (Michelle Huneven interviewed […]

April 1, 2014

Song of Myself 0

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At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell delves into the history of the self-interview, which you can find many examples of over at The Nervous Breakdown. Mark cites examples of self-interviews by prominent writers, including Tennessee Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Year in Reading alum John Banville.