Robert Birnbaum asked seven indie publishers to say which titles they wish they’d published in 2009. The last sentence of the piece (from Dalkey Archive’s Martin Riker) is particularly great.
The Believer posts a 2003 essay featuring Donald Barthelme’s reading list, which came secondhand to Kevin Moffett, a self-professed non-reader: “Barthelme’s only guidance, passed on by Padgett Powell, one of Barthelme’s former students at the University of Houston and my teacher at the time, was to attack the books ‘in no particular order, just read them,’ which is exactly what I, in my confident illiteracy, resolved to do.” (via The Paris Review)
Writers have long been attracted to duels, if only because, for the most part, they offer an easy way to ramp up the conflict in a story. At Page-Turner, James Guida takes a look at their enduring relevance, with reference to the history of the duel in Europe. Pair with: our own Nick Moran on duels in Russian literature.
Out this week: The Familiar, Volume 1 by Mark Z. Danielewski; The Green Road by Anne Enright; The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard; The Edge Becomes The Center by DW Gibson; The Daemon Knows by Harold Bloom; How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz; Girl at War by Sara Novic; The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld; and City by City, an essay collection edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb. For more on these books and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.
In the wake of Jonathan Franzen‘s much discussed New Yorker essay on Edith Wharton, Laura Miller defends readers who look to an author’s life to aid their understanding of a given work: ” Byron’s clubfoot, Flannery O’Connor’s lupus, Coleridge’s opium addiction and whatever was wrong with Hemingway do interest many readers because these factors shaped the life experiences from which the great work sprang.”