Anya Ulinich, author of Petropolis, talks to World Literature Today: “What else can a person do when she gets home after a ten-hour work day – with a toothache that she can’t afford to fix . . . – but fall on the couch and watch whatever is in front of her face?” . . . Lydia Davis, whose Collected Stories is just out, talks to Sarah Manguso for The Believer: “At the origin of the work there has to be strong feeling, if it’s going to be any good. Of course, that strong feeling can be a delight in language.” . . . The Book Bench unearths a 1978 John Updike interview with a Croation periodical, which finds the Rabbit Angstrom author halfway through his tetralogy. . . . Edwin Frank of NYRB Classics talks to Omnivoracious, and selects his favorite books in the series (via). . . . And James Ellroy submits to interrogation at The Paris Review: “I was always thinking about how I would become a great novelist.”
Vol. 1 Brooklyn‘s Tobias Carroll presents a roundup of the best new literature blurring the lines between writing and the visual arts, including works that made cameos in Paul Auster‘s Leviathan and Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth. We reviewed the latter novel a year ago here.
For most people, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is the beginning and end of mafia books, the sole notable entry in a sparse and little-known genre. That’s why it’s helpful that Roberto Dainotto, in The Guardian, published this list, which includes The Godfather, Eric Hobsbawm’s Primitive Rebels, and Alexander Stille’s Excellent Cadavers, among other picks.
Ever heard of the Collins Dictionary? It’s the open-source lexicographic collection which apparently accepted “thanx,” but likewise rejected “alleygation” and “mobydickulous.” Consider it the happy medium between The American Heritage and Urban dictionaries.
If Claudia Rankine writes it, it’s safe to say I’d recommend it. Here she is in a long, lovely essay on Adrienne Rich and her poetic transformations.
Following the launch of a new £10,000 “innovative” literary prize by Goldsmiths College and the New Statesman, Chad Post takes a look at the current state of American literary awards. His opinion? “America is The Worst for trying to equate popularity with quality.”