An excerpt from David Foster Wallace‘s unfinished novel, The Pale King, appears this week in The New Yorker. It’s good.
“What does it even mean to say that I am experiencing my life in a jumpy, random sort of manner? Each instant of my experience is the experience, whatever its temporal relation to other experiences. So long as the memories are consistent, what meaning can be attached to the claim that my life happens in a jumbled sequence?” Physicist Paul Davies on why you can’t remember your future.
Millions writer Sonya Chung has a trenchant essay up at Huffington Post on the topic of writing and motherhood: “Art Before Life: Questioning the Parenthood Question.”
Hot on the heels of The New Yorker, The Paris Review is excerpting Calvino’s letters. In Monday’s entry, POSTERITY IS STUPID, the author writes the following: “Although I am small, ugly and dirty, I am highly ambitious and at the slightest flattery I immediately start to strut like a turkey.”
The 2012 finalists for the Costa (formerly Whitbread) Book Awards have been anounced. In the “Novel” category, they are Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May, The Heart Broke In by James Meek, and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart. The Costa site has lists of the nominees in all categories.
“Now I wrote until near dawn, wanting a map of the literary nation, a beautiful evocation of how we are truly a nation of village and city and prairie and brownstone, of Rockies and bayous and mesas. Novels give to every reader someone else’s home. Can we not see this – we of wonder and grievance?” Susan Straight creates a map of America in 737 novels, prompting us to remember the perennial literary question: What is the greatest American novel?
“When we read a book that requires that effort — when the act of reading becomes rigorous and self-aware, rather than effortless and transparent — we get to have a history with what we’ve given ourselves to, a history etched into us by the demanding friction of its difficulty.” Zoë Heller and Leslie Jamison debate whether or not we overvalue difficult literature in The New York Times.