Curiosities

February 6, 2015

Surrealist and Sweet 0

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I’ve written before about Haruki Murakami‘s advice column, but at that point it was still a work-in-progress with few details or samples available. A month later, the submission period for questions is over and Murakami’s responses are being published. The Washington Post calls the column “surrealist and sweet,” and NPR has reported on the ongoing Mr.Murakami’s Place project […]

February 6, 2015

The Two Philip Roths 0

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“As time passed, I realized the Philip Roth I’d known before the two documentaries we ended up doing was in the process of transformation. The Roth I’d known for many years was an obsessively committed writer who, in the terrifying limbo between one book and another, could fall victim to a storm of depression or be […]

February 6, 2015

Writing the Suburban Wild 0

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In a longform piece for The Atlantic Diane Saverin writes about Annie Dillard‘s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, the predominantly male tradition of wilderness-writing, and how Dillard found and wrote about the wild while living in suburbia. She also wrestles with the question: “if the author conveys a resonant truth, does it matter what experiences led to the […]

February 5, 2015

Six Plots 0

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We are all by now familiar with J.K. Rowling‘s elaborate, hand-drawn outlines for the Harry Potter series, but what if all plots could be simplified further? Down to, let’s say, graphs? And not even an infinite number of graphs, but just six? The Paris Review considers the work of Matthew Jockers, a literature professor who […]

February 5, 2015

Listening to Joyce 1

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We’ve written before about various rare recordings of authors reading that occasionally surface on the internet (a sample here) but today we add a new author: James Joyce. Open Culture has posted two recordings of the author reading from Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and while the audio quality is exactly what you would expect for recordings […]

February 5, 2015

Tough Sell 1

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Did Patrick Modiano deserve the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature?  Wrong question, our own Bill Morris writes in The Daily Beast.  The right question is: Why is foreign fiction in translation still such a tough sell for American publishers?

February 5, 2015

Madame Bovary Trailer Released 0

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Just released: a trailer for an upcoming film adaptation of Madame Bovary starring Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre?). Pair with our review of Lydia Davis‘s 2010 translation of Flaubert‘s classic.

February 4, 2015

Civil Servants 1

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Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that […]

February 4, 2015

“You become an enormous bright white projector screen” 0

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Recommended Reading: This interview at The Rumpus with Chloe Caldwell.

February 4, 2015

From A to Zuckerman 0

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Looking to get into Philip Roth? Not sure where to start in the perennial Nobel favorite’s massive ouevre? Thankfully, the novelist Gabriel Roth is here, swooping in with the only guide you’ll ever need. He explains why Portnoy’s Complaint made the splash it did, why Goodbye, Columbus put Roth on the map, and why the character […]