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  • One of the more common questions that comes up in The Nervous Breakdown’s self-interviews is what the subjects consider to be the hardest part of the writing life. The most recent edition sees Jac Jemc, whose latest came out last week, admit that time is what foils her: “Everything takes longer than I think it will, more drafts than I think it will.” This might be a good time to look back on some earlier examples of the form.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Recommended Reading: Drew Nelles on Ben Lerner’s 10:04 and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • You may have heard that Jess Row has a new book on shelves. The plot follows a man who undergoes a surgical procedure to change his race. In an interview at Guernica, the author talks to Grace Bello about writing and race, teaching in Hong Kong and what it means to grow up in Baltimore. You could also read the author’s Year in Reading entry.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • I’ve written before about Wolf in White Van, the new novel by Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle. But there’s another book out by a prominent artist in a field other than writing: Consumed by David Cronenberg, the director of A History of Violence. Sam Costello reviews the new book over at Full-Stop.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • In the latest edition of By the Book, Neil Patrick Harris explains his love of Gone Girl, Steve Martin, and John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. We’ve written about the series in the past — you might want to look back on the entries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Colson Whitehead.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “These conversations push Leonard outside his sister’s house and put him on a course complete with time travel, an unreadable ancient text, Jewish Mysticism, and an attractive reference librarian. And here’s where the trouble starts.” On Rachel Cantor’s A Highly Unlikely Scenario.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Among the better tidbits from Gary Shteyngart’s diary of his book tour for Little Failure is the fact that he’s apparently had fellow Russian immigrants ask him to sign books for “a failed paralegal” and “a worse failure than even you.” If, after reading that, you’d like another dose of Shteyngart, you could do worse than his Year in Reading entry.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • In 1913, Ambrose Bierce, at the age of seventy-one, rode a horse from California to Mexico, where he planned to cover the ongoing Revolutionary War. At some point, he disappeared and died, though accounts vary as to what exactly killed him. At The Paris Review Daily, Forrest Gander recounts the many deaths of the Devil’s Dictionary author, which include a public burning, death by disease and executions at the hands of Mexican soldiers.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Out this week: The Immortal Evening by Stanley Plumly; Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura; Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll; Sometimes the Wolf by Urban Waite; Splitting an Order by the former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser; Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère; and The Heart Is Strange by John Berryman, which I wrote about as part of our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview. Support The Millions: Bookmark this link and start there when you shop at Amazon.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Heading to London in the near future? Stop by the British Library’s new Terror and Wonder, which bills itself as the UK’s biggest Gothic exhibition in history. To whet your appetite, you can read this Guardian piece by Neil Gaiman, in which the Sandman author names Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein the apex of Gothic fiction. Related: our own Hannah Gersen on Frankenstein and the “Year Without a Summer.”


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Recommended Reading: Our own Elizabeth Minkel on Sherlock and fan fiction. You can also read another essay of hers on fan fiction here at The Millions.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Back in April, Dreamworks announced its plans to adapt Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell for the silver screen, with the author writing the script. A few months later, Rowell published a new book, Landline, that marked a return to adult fiction. At The Rumpus, Amanda Green sits down with the author to talk about YA, her productivity and the importance (or not) of getting up early to write. FYI, our own Janet Potter reviewed Eleanor and Park and Fangirl.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith