by The Book Report
Also discussed in this episode: religion, gender roles, fundamentalism, the rapture, road trips, unrealistically wonderful boys with tousled brown hair, ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell, John Green, mix tapes, best friends, and God.0
by Alex Norcia
The prose becomes wonderfully cyclic, like the plot, and it’s unclear whether the universe, she, or society is the thing that’s sick.0
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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
“By now, you are probably asking yourself, Did these two ever talk about anything serious? Of course, we did. We talked about how writing a poem is no different from taking out a frying pan and concocting a dish out of the ingredients available in the house, how in poetry, as in cooking, it’s all a matter of subtle little touches that come from long experience or are the result of sudden inspiration.” Charles Simic writes movingly about his friend, the late poet Mark Strand, and their various schemes, from buying palazzos to founding a gastronomic poetry movement, for The New York Review of Books.
This week in lit news: VIDA, the organization that’s been counting appearances by women writers in major literary journals since 2010, will expand their 2014 count to include data on race/ethnicity.
Fun fact: Up until the late 1940s, science fiction novels really didn’t exist. Andrew Liptak writes about the rise of the paperback novel and the evolution of science fiction for Kirkus Reviews. Pair with Nichole Bernier‘s Millions essay on “The Point of the Paperback.”
Recommended recommendations: “Eight Excellent Literary Podcasts for Your Morning Commute.”
Following up on her latest book, On Immunity: An Inoculation, Year in Reading alum Eula Biss talks with Salon about “action movies, race, fear, violence and vaccination.” Pair with Kyle Boelte‘s Millions review of On Immunity.
Oscar Wilde: a “fatuous fool,” a “tenth-rate cad,” and an “unclean beast?” According to Henry James, all of the above.
“Driving hundreds of miles at a time… uncorked the forgotten joys of my undergraduate years—chief among them the fantasy that simply buying a book guarantees that it will get read.” Ted Trautman on going on a book-buying binge during a cross-country road-trip.
Nabokov played (and frequently wrote about) chess; J.K. Rowling plays Minecraft, though it has yet to appear in any kind of Harry Potter spin-off. And why shouldn’t she? After all, “there’s a long tradition of other authors turning to a variety of such games – mostly as light relief from their vocation, but also sometimes finding writerly inspiration.”
“Riordan’s books prompt an uneasy interrogation of the premise underlying the ‘so long as they’re reading’ side of the debate—at least among those of us who want to share Neil Gaiman’s optimistic view that all reading is good reading, and yet find ourselves by disposition closer to the Tim Parks end of the spectrum, worried that those books on our children’s shelves that offer easy gratification are crowding out the different pleasures that may be offered by less grabby volumes.” In an essay for The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead considers questions about what children should be reading through the lens of the Percy Jackson series.
New at The Point: an incisive look at Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis that calls it “the most prescient American novel of the past fifteen years” and asks,”is it possible to mount any meaningful resistance to capitalism on the level of culture?” The latest print issue features this essay as well as a symposium on privacy, and will be launched at a release party in Hyde Park on Saturday night.
1~Anne K. Yoder
“Your shipment of personal copies will never arrive. Your publisher will not be able to track their fate, nor replace them. A week will pass and you will wander into the animal shelter at a nearby strip mall and find a dog cage lined with the urine-soaked pages of your book. Your eyes will meet the eyes of the miniature schnauzer that resides in your shredded work. You’ll think: this is fate. But the adoption center won’t approve your application because you can’t claim any substantial income.” Electric Literature has compiled the “The Ten Ways Your Life Will Change After You Publish Your First Book,” so you can’t say you weren’t warned.
“He is now even upon the point of marrying—shall I proceed!—of marrying his Sister! I fly to prevent incest!” Dan Piepenbring writes about reading The Power of Sympathy, America’s first novel, for The Paris Review.
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Read More The Millions Top 10 December 2014
The Novel: A Biography Michael Schmidt
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel
The Bone Clocks David Mitchell
Reading Like a Writer Francine Prose
My Brilliant Friend Elena Ferrante
The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
The Strange Library Haruki Murakami
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
Dept. of Speculation Jenny Offill