“Perhaps it’s a sign that our literary culture is not quite so ailing that Smith managed to make a space for NW, to clear a third path, one that meanders through Willesden, through time, and through the mind.” Our own Emily M. Keeler on realism and Zadie Smith.
Perhaps inspired by the news, first reported a few years ago, that mad scientists in the Indian army plan to weaponize superhot chilis, Lauren Collins ventures bravely into the world of extreme heat. As a warning to readers who fancy themselves tough, she quotes a doctor who makes clear that these peppers aren’t just hot -- they’re lethal.
The latest in virtual author appearances, an especially useful option for literary venues in the snowy midwest during winter: Hannah Tinti on Skype (audio and video) in Minneapolis via the Magers & Quinn "Books & Bars" Book Club series.
“Always practice basic online etiquette, or 'netiquette.' Consider including emoticons to help add personality to your message and set the right tone. Also, be sure to stay on topic in a conversation and avoid writing in all caps, which is the online equivalent to shouting.” The Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us keep the lights on around here!) has a list of guidelines for authors looking to engage with their fans (and critics) on Goodreads. More recommended reading: our own Emily St. John Mandel on how to respond to your critics.
Measuring a writer's success is tricky. An author might make The New York Times Bestseller List now but only be a footnote in an encyclopedia a century later. At The Guardian, D.J. Taylor wonders what contributes to a writer's posterity and concludes a pushy publisher or sponsor is often a writer's best asset. Pair with: Our essay on how John Updike fans attempt to maintain his reputation.
Philip Roth may have retired, but that doesn’t mean he’s done giving interviews. The author recently sat down with the editor of a Swedish newspaper, who talked with him about misogyny, Sabbath’s Theater and the need for “obstinacy” in a writer. (Related: our own Hannah Gersen reviewed Roth Unbound.) (h/t The Paris Review)