by Nick Ripatrazone
Butler’s central trope has always been the idea of homes, our private Americas. But Butler’s house has many rooms. 300,000,000 is a new testament; what happens when prose becomes prophecy.7
by Jonathan Russell Clark
Everybody, shut up. Now, I realize that a group of writers like yourselves would jump all over the chance to point out the irony of me beginning a symposium on dialogue by telling everyone to shut up, but I don’t want to hear it, okay? Let’s just get this over with. Jane Smiley, let’s begin with you.1
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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
50 years and 1 day ago Jean-Paul Sartre turned down the Nobel Prize in Literature. Yesterday Steve Neumann wrote for The Airship about what writers can learn from Sartre’s refusal.
With Halloween a week away, The New York Times asked Ayana Mathis and Francine Prose about the “most terrifying” books they’ve read. Their choices? Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tales. Pair their combined essays with Flavorwire‘s list of “50 of the Scariest Short Stories” and our own Ben Dooley‘s brief review of House of Leaves‘s “existential terror”.
There is going to be a documentary about Joan Didion. We repeat: a documentary about Joan Didion. This is not a drill. Watch the opening trailer and consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign here, and be sure to read our own Michael Borne‘s review of Blue Nights and S.J. Culver‘s Millions essay on “Getting Out: Escaping with Joan Didion.”
Fanny Trollope, Anthony’s mother, taught America a thing or two about decency and feminism: her scathing pen wrote books about the excesses of American society and its alienation of women. Over at Bloom, Cynthia Miller Coffel writes about this trailblazing woman who should be considered “the patron saint of middle aged women writers.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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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Read More The Millions Top 10 September 2014
The Bone Clocks David Mitchell
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Haruki Murakami
Cosmicomics Italo Calvino
The Round House Louise Erdrich
My Struggle: Book 1 Karl Ove Knausgaard
Reading Like a Writer Francine Prose
The Son Philipp Meyer