by Matt Seidel
This might not be the thing one wants to hear before embarking on a 1,500 page quest, but the trilogy is marked by a narrative desultoriness that applies to both its human and political dramas. The novels are in a some ways about widespread distraction and inaction in the face of an impending catastrophe.0
by Sonya Chung
A few years ago, when I first starting reading and writing about Dovlatov, I focused on the wickedly humorous side of Dovlatov’s deadpan. But a few years later, and a few more books into his body of work, I find myself more interested in that earnestness and regret — in Dovlatov the evolving man and artist, who crafted and, yes, honed a version of himself in his fiction that was just distorted enough to be true.2
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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
Break out your book of grudges because River Styx literary magazine has decided on the theme for their next issue: Revenge.
I’ve long thought that New Orleans is the greatest city in America and that it’s nigh impossible to make it much better. That was before Tulane University announced that Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped author Jesmyn Ward will be joining their faculty. Let it be thus known: on July 1, 2014, New Orleans will get even better than I could’ve imagined.
In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Ice Trilogy author Vladimir Sorokin looks at the current events related to Ukraine, Russia, and Crimea, and notes that “the Russian state’s ‘vertical power’ structure” (which is to say “monarchical structure”) is what keeps the Russian people held “hostage to the psychosomatic quirks of its leader.”
Next week marks the release of Jordan Ferguson’s 33 1/3 book on Donuts, J Dilla’s legendary instrumental hip-hop album. Over at Stones Throw, you can dive into an excerpt. I recommend doing so while bumping “Last Donut of the Night” in the background.
Does love “crack [your] sternum open” or is love like the “mystery of water and a star?” Is your soul “an empty carousel at sunset?” Are you an only child? I ask because these – along with several other questions – will help Farrar, Straus, and Giroux determine once and for all: “Which Poet Are You?”
“There are dangers for an artist in any academic environment,” says former Poetry editor Christian Wiman, who now teaches at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. “Academia rewards people who know their own minds and have developed an ironclad confidence in speaking them. That kind of assurance is death for an artist.”
Move over Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence because Chloë Grace Moretz is about to become the YA queen. The trailer for her adaptation of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay just came out. Next, she will be trading tearjerkers for dystopias in an adaptation of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave.
Recommended Listening: Michael Nye reading his new short story about a former NFL lineman, “Beauty in the Age of Chaos and Savagery,” for The Kenyon Review. For more Nye, read his 2013 Year in Reading post.
When Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t writing Sherlock Holmes, he was a practicing doctor. Thomas Goetz’s new book The Remedy discusses the history of tuberculosis and Doyle’s role in finding a cure with Robert Koch. The Daily Beast interviewed Goetz about how he came up with the idea for the book. “These two characters were part of a much larger story about how scientific discoveries evolve into social change.”
It’s always disappointing when your novel fails to get published, but what if that novel were still lurking online? At The New York Times, Jason K. Friedman writes about finding the Amazon and Google links for his novel that never made it to print. “Google admits, ‘We haven’t found any reviews in the usual places,’ which in this case would be the planet Earth.” Pair with: Our own Edan Lepucki’s essay on how to cope with not selling your novel.
Does a writer make the city or does the city make the writer? At Grantland, Michael Weinreb discusses why Elmore Leonard is the ultimate Motor City writer and discovers Leonard’s Detroit. “Without his books, the city would still have suffered the same hellish decline. But because of him, that suffering was rendered into an art form all its own.” Pair with: Our own Bill Morris writing against Detroit’s ruin porn reputation.
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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