Lots of anticipated books hitting shelves today. At the top of the list is Michael Lewis’s look at the recent financial calamity, The Big Short. Also new today, Chang Rae Lee’s The Surrendered, Ron Rash’s story collection Burning Bright, Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That, and James Hynes’ Next, about which we have noted some intriguing Twitter buzz. New in paperback are Victor LaValle’s The Big Machine and Dave Eggers’ The Wild Things.
George Packer at Lapham’s Quarterly writes of meeting a young Burmese reader of Charles Dickens: “‘All of those characters are me,’ [he] explained. ‘Neither a British nor American young man living in the twenty-first century can understand a Dickens as well as I can…I am more equipped to understand Dickens than modern novels. I don’t know what is air conditioning, what is subway, what is fingerprint exam.’” (via Book Bench)
At The New Republic, Andrew Wylie talks about how he made millions off strictly “highbrow” fiction, a category which (for those who are curious) does not include the works of James Michener and the late Tom Clancy. Wylie — whose clients include Philip Roth, Martin Amis and Mary Gaitskill — suggests that a modern literary agency “needs to be able to expand infinitely, like a Borgesian library.”
Chuck Palahniuk dropped big news at San Diego’s Comic Con last week: he’s currently working on a follow-up to Fight Club… in the form of a graphic novel. “It will likely be a series of books that update the story ten years after the seeming end of Tyler Durden,” he told attendees. “It will, of course, be dark and messy.”
“More than 30 years after her last big swim, Diana Nyad is back in the water,” writes NPR’s Greg Allen. “Nyad, a former commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition, became well-known in the 1970s for her swim around Manhattan Island and, a few years later, for swimming from the Bahamas to Florida. Now, at age 61, she’ll soon be attempting a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West.” Unfortunately she’s already missed Key West’s Hemingway Days.