Henry Holt & Company stopped printing and selling Charles Pellegrino‘s The Last Train From Hiroshima last week, following allegations of fraudulent sources and fabrication in the work. The New York Times examines the debacle: “If book publishers are supposed to be the gatekeepers,” novelist and Studio 360 host Kurt Anderson asks, “tell me exactly what they’re closing the gate to.”
The Common has a newly translated chapter of Turki al-Hamad’s novel Al Karadib. Its publication online coincides with the one-year anniversary of al-Hamad’s arrest in December 2012 for “tweets considered apostasy.” This featured chapter is the first part of the book to be translated into English.
It’s an age-old question for writers and thinkers: how do you quiet the noise of your thoughts? In Aeon Magazine, Tim Parks wonders if it’s even possible to silence internal monologues -- and, if it is, whether that silence means losing sight of our identities. (Related: our own Mark O'Connell reviewed Parks's latest book.)
"Our literary culture has distended and warped by focusing so much power in a singular place, by crowding the gatekeepers into a small ditch of commerce. A review in the Times trumps everything else. You can’t tell me that this doesn’t affect what is, finally, bound into books, marketed, and sold. Which designates what can be said and how one says it. Why do we cede American letters to a handful of corporations that exist on a single concrete patch?" This piece by Matthew Neill Null at The Literary Hub raises a lot of extremely important questions about what gets published and why.
"Long before feminism made fashion a guilty pleasure, my first experience of the sisterhood among strangers took place in a communal dressing room." Judith Thurman writes for The New Yorker about Women in Clothes and her experiences in thrift stores and clothing swaps. For more about the connections between feminism, dressing and literature, check out Rachel Signer's Millions review of the same anthology.
Out this week: City on Fire by our own Garth Risk Hallberg (whom we interviewed yesterday); Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann; Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel; The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts; Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam; And West is West by Ron Childress; and Eyes by William H. Gass. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
We have some bad news, writers. People actually dislike creative thinking. Despite how society celebrates creativity, most people are too risk averse to appreciate it, studies indicate. What's the upside? Social rejection can bolster your creativity, but most writers probably knew that already.