New this week: My Name Is Lucy Barton by the Pulitzer laureate and Year in Reading alumna Elizabeth Strout; The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun; And Again by Jessica Chiarella; American Housewife by Helen Ellis; Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa; This Census-Taker by China Miéville; Eleanor by Jason Gurley; The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne; and Even the Dead by John Banville’s alter-ego Benjamin Black. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2016 Book Preview.
"I'm not a journalist, and I don't pretend to be one, and most of the pieces in there were assigned to me by Harper's, with these sort of maddening instructions of, you know, just go to a certain spot and kind of, you know, turn 350 degrees a few times and tell us what you see." Tom Scocca posts a five-part transcript of a phone interview he did with David Foster Wallace in February 1998. (Thanks, Nick.)
Who would have predicted, when an unassuming history of post-punk called Our Band Could Be Your Life was published in 2001, that we'd be celebrating its tenth anniversary with concert blowouts and Paris Review Daily interviews? Most anyone who read it, that's who.
It's not always a given that good people make good characters. Over at The Atlantic, Tony Tulathimutte explains how none other than one Philip Roth taught him the importance of showing every aspect of your characters–even the bad ones. Here's an older piece from the same series in which Paul Lisicky writes about Flannery O'Connor and her "flawed characters."
As Amy Bloom remembers it, the inspiration for her most recent novel came from two sources: the mythos of Old Hollywood and the criminal history of her own family. In The Guardian, she recounts the genesis of Lucky Us, with brief descriptions of her family’s rap sheet.
The 3 Quarks Daily annual prize for Arts and Literature blog writing has been announced! Nominations are open in the comments of the announcement. This year's judge is author, professor, blogger, intellect Laila Lalami. Dear readers, feel free to nominate any Millions writing you enjoyed here. And to the guest contributors out there, be sure to nominate your Millions contributions!