The big, blockbuster book this week is the final installment in the late Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Those just catching on to the Larsson phenomenon can also now get the complete set. Moving on to quirkier fare, there’s The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto, a reprint of a 1950s treatise on drinking with a new introduction by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). And finally, Library of America is putting out a volume of novels and stories by master of gothic fiction, Shirley Jackson.
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
Remember that time Amtrak offered a 10-day train residency, and the internet experienced a collective freakout because trains are literary catnip, and then we found out it was kind of a scam? Barnard Zine Library does, too. In honor of that cultural moment, they recently sponsored an “MTA Residency” that, while less glamorous, has already yielded beautiful work.
Erin Morgenstern‘s debut novel The Night Circus went from National Novel Writing Month project to 6-figure book advance after being rejected by more than 30 agents.
Lorrie Moore once said in an interview that what’s good for writing is bad for life. In this vein, we might assume that coffee, which is bad for your health but good for your writing, neatly supports her conjecture. But what if it turns out that coffee is a detriment to creativity? Maria Konnikova investigates research that suggests this might be the case.
What do indie rock musicians share in common with experimental writers? A great deal, and not just a distaste for both of those over-used adjectives.