We’re digging the cover for Colson Whitehead’s forthcoming novel, Sag Harbor.
Wikipedia find of the week:Fakelore: “Fakelore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional.”
Murakami’suneasy relationship with Japan: “He has been seen, and to some degree positioned himself, as a literary pariah in Japan, in part because of its tepid-to-negative critical reception of his work.”
Further reading: Check out the interesting Kindle pro and con in the comments of Max’s Kindle/iPhone post this week; And check out the interesting discussion of the New Yorker’s commitment (or lack thereof) to international literature in the comments of Garth’s DFW post.
In a recent interview with Bookforum, Wells Tower dropped an enticing little detail about his latest project: a novel. Playing coy with the interviewer, Tower admitted only that “it will concern a family and it will contain a good number of pages.” No release date has been set at this time.
There’s a lot of (justified) talk about the power of reading, but simply owning a book can be meaningful. Mabel Rosenheck considers Walter Benjamin‘s perspective on book ownership – “[it] is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.” – and her own experiences with book collecting in San Francisco in an essay for The Toast. Pair with Anne Fadiman‘s essay on relationships, books, and relationships with books, “Marrying Libraries.”
“[I]n the world of letters, it is hard to imagine a more seismic change than this one.” TheNew York Times announces that its longtime book critic Michiko Kakutaniis stepping down after nearly four decades of reviews.
The Times also offers a roundup of her greatest hits, including writeups of Beloved, Infinite Jest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Bill Clinton‘s memoir My Life:
The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.
This announcement was followed by the great news that repeat Year in Reading alumnaParul Sehgal will join Jennifer Senior and Dwight Garner as a Times book critic, leaving her position as senior editor of the NYT Book Review. Congratulations, Parul!
“Yes, it’s easy to laugh at the lawyers. But what if the lawyers were right? For the question that still needs to be answered, I think, is whether the arguments over the novel’s obscenity and obscurity were just temporary historical effects or whether they point to the essence of Joyce’s originality.” A longform look at why we should still find Ulysses scandalous.