Here are the first lines of the new David Mitchell novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, forthcoming in July: “‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’ In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates. Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.”
Articles lamenting the supposed death of reading tend to include a gripe that we now spend too much time on the Internet. However, as those of you who read a lot of books and live partially on the Internet are aware, the two activities aren’t mutually exclusive. NPR’s Morning Edition has a new story (which includes our own Janet Potter discussing her rewriting of classic novel titles as click-bait headlines) about the intersection between the lit world and the meme world.
On June 7th Canteen is hosting a battle in NYC’s KGB Bar. The event is called Outwrite and will pit Matthew Aaron Goodman, author of Hold Love Strong, against twelve two unknown volunteers in a flash writing competition. Alexander Chee will be reading from his new novel while the contestants prepare their weapons. This would make a great #LitBeat, and if you’re interested in covering this, get in touch with me here.
Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012. In a sign that the end times are surely nigh, MTV2 has decided to bring back Hollywood Squares “but with a modern twist.” The unfortunately-named Hip Hop Squares will feature Nick Cannon, Ghostface Killah, DJ Khaled, Lamarr Woodley and… Bam Margera?
If the description “a comic thriller about mermaids, the natural world and ruthless capitalism” isn’t enough to pique your interest, you might be inspired to pick up Lydia Millet’s latest by the title of Laura Miller’s review, which describes Millet as “the P.G. Wodehouse of environmental writing.” At Salon, the book critic goes into the many reasons she enjoys Millet’s work, among them the author’s knack for deploying humor at appropriate times. FYI, Millet wrote an article for The Millions recently.