Booksellers across the country have loaded up dollies with towers of boxes and carted them to the front of the store. Amazon has broken into its super-secret, double-locked, chain-link fence. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is here. Understandably, other publishers have ceded this Tuesday almost entirely to the Dan Brown hype machine, but those looking for something (very) different can today find Joyce Carol Oates doing the zombie thing (not really) and the latest from Tao Lin.
“There’s more to life than writing and publishing fiction. There is another way entirely, amazed as I am to discover it at this late date,” Philip Roth said in an interview with Cynthia Haven for Stanford’s The Book Haven. Besides his retirement from writing, Roth also discussed why he doesn’t consider himself an American-Jewish writer and his book The Ghost Writer. For more Roth, read our essay on lessons you can learn from his work.
“Proulx’s deep reverence for the beauty and complexities of rural America has introduced millions of readers to the wide breadth of American life. Her commitment to crafting compassionate, honest stories has left an indelible mark on literature and created a powerful and enduring legacy.” Annie Proulx nabs the National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. Check out her Year-in-Reading entry from this past year here.
Over at the Story Prize blog, Year in Reading alumnus Colum McCann shares a letter of advice to writers starting their career. As he puts it, “A story begins long before its first word. It ends long after its last… [it] reveal[s] a truth that isn’t yet there.”
The premier English-language translator of modern Chinese fiction, Howard Goldblatt, says flatly that Western audiences don’t read Chinese books. However, with last year’s Nobel Prize win for Mo Yan (and the rave review his novel Pow! received in the Times), Goldblatt and other scholars are hoping that could change.
Cutting out large chunks of a book is pretty common, but cutting out 200 pages is a little unusual. While working on his latest novel, Joshua Ferris decided to abandon the elements drawn from crime fiction, which meant he had to toss out a huge portion of his draft. “Now that was a fun day,” he says.