At My Life and Thoughts, Elif Batuman–in delightfully Elifish style–describes her first book travails and unveils a preliminary sketch for the cover of her forthcoming first book The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.
FSG just launched their new online literary periodical, Work in Progress. Check out their debut issue, where you’ll find Jeffrey Eugenides chatting about his latest book with Jonathan Galassi, fiction by Lydia Davis, summer book giveaways and photos from the FSG archives. Look for the clip from an FSG letter introducing Susan Sontag’s first book in 1963: “It is difficult, as you know, to create interest in new writers.”
Leave it to Roxane Gay to come up with a novel format for an essay on the feminist novel. In the new issue of Dissent, she presents eleven theses on the topic, including references to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Sample quote: “Not every novel that concerns itself with the lives of women is a feminist novel. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a feminist novel.” You could also read our own Edan Lepucki on the problem with feminist anthems.
In November, Matt Kish will write a series of guest posts for Tin House’s Open Bar Blog. He’ll be “exploring some of the ideas and processes behind five of [his] Heart of Darkness illustrations.” Over on his personal blog, however, he’s asking for readers to help him select which five pieces he should discuss. Kish, who has previously illustrated the pages of Moby Dick, was recently mentioned in our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.