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)
The headliners this week are on the non-fiction side: Michael Pollan’s Cooked and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Also new in non-fiction: Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by the Times’ Brian Stelter and Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. In fiction: The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson, The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard, Paris by Edward Rutherfurd, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, and The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley.
When you want to distinguish fiction and poetry writing from academic work or journalism, you use a straightforward term: creative writing. But what if that term is not the one you should use? At Slate, an article on the subject by Cydney Alexis, originally published by Inside Higher Ed.
“For a novelist, writing letters is writing that is not writing,” Ed Park says of P.G. Wodehouse’s collected correspondence, A Life in Letters. The Year in Reading alum goes on to note that “a collection of letters is the unconscious narrative the author generates over the years.”