Larry Rohter at the New York Times relates the darker, more cynical Mark Twain that has emerged through publication of the first volume of his unexpurgated autobiography, a century after his death: “One thing that gets Mark Twain going is his rage and resentment.”
Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”
Used-book search aggregator BookFinder.com has published its annual report on the most sought-after out-of-print books. As always, the lists are eclectic, spanning everything from stock market conspiracy theories to a lost work by Edward Gorey. (Thanks, Laurie)
The internet’s repository of Franz Kafka-inspired literary treats seems to have no bounds. This latest: his excellent short story “The Country Doctor” has been adapted by Japanese filmmaker Kōji Yamamura into a 20-minute animated film (subtitled). Kafka adaptations clearly aren’t going anywhere. Pair with our essay on the subtle art of rereading his most famous story.
Out this week: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub; Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips; The Gallery of Lost Species by Nina Berkhout; Robert Parris Moses by Laura Visser-Maessen; Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman; and The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.