“I Don’t Want to Always Write Stories About the Same Kind of Disaffected, Angsty, Youngish Dude:” On Justin Taylor’s Flings
by Bill Morris
These stories are loaded with memorable snapshots. But for a writer of Taylor’s wit and intelligence, that’s no longer enough.4
by Jo Lennan
Precisely because it is so gripping, it is possible on first reading not to notice just how skillful it is, how intricate the plot and the successive revelations, how deft the handling of point of view and tense.0
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“Today’s vampires have traded their capes for fashionable leather jackets, their claws for manicures.” Becca Rothfeld writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books about the “the distressingly human lives of vampires today.” Pair with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Ethical Vampires” and “Ethical Vampires, part II.”
“Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.
Before he was Michael Chabon the novelist he was Michael Chabon the punk musician. Now recordings of his work with The Bats are available online as part of Mind Cure Records archival series.
Did Virginia Woolf learn a bit of her modernism from Edith Wharton? John Colapinto argues so in The New Yorker, pointing out that the famous middle section of To the Lighthouse seems to mirror the innovative end of The Age of Innocence.
“What’s emerging from these studies isn’t just a theory of language or of metaphor. It’s a nascent theory of consciousness.” Michael Chorost writes about the importance of metaphors in literature and the brain.
“Robinson resists the notion of love as an easy antidote to a lifetime of suffering or solitude, suggesting that intimacy can’t intrude on loneliness without some measure of pain.” Leslie Jamison reviews Marilynne Robinson‘s latest novel, Lila, which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award.
“It’s fair to say Shakespeare is having a cultural moment in Asia, with a “boom” of new film adaptations and dramatic stagings,” and the Royal Shakespeare Company just received 1.5 million pounds to keep that boom going by translating all of the Bard’s plays into Mandarin. Melville House has the full story, and it pairs well with both this diagram of a translated book’s usual lifespan and this discussion of Shakespeare’s best plays.
“I am not influenced by books. Instead, I am shaped by them. I am made of flesh and bone and blood. I am also made of books. ” Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, which we reviewed here, and Bad Feminist, takes a new, thoughtful spin on a Facebook trend in an essay for BuzzFeed.
William Carlos Williams‘s birthday was this last week, and Adam Kirsch writes about the poet for New York Review of Books. Though he argues that “today it would be hard to find a reader of poetry who would not acknowledge William Carlos Williams as one of the major American modernists” Kirsch still has to face the question, “why is it, then, that almost fifty years after his death, the reputation of [Williams] still seems to be haunted by a ghost of uncertainty?”
Our own Janet Potter has teamed with Michael Shaub to launch The Book Report, an online weekly literary talk show. The first episode, which focuses on David Pearce‘s Red or Dead, is now available on YouTube. Pair their video with Mark Lane‘s Millions review of Pearce’s novel.
Recommended reading: Robert Darnton writes for The New York Review of Books blog about the history and politics of censorship.
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Read More The Millions Top 10 August 2014
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Haruki Murakami
Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
The Round House Louise Erdrich
The Son Philipp Meyer
Cosmicomics Italo Calvino
Reading Like a Writer Francine Prose
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
My Struggle: Book 1 Karl Ove Knausgaard