N+1’s Marco Roth turns in an ambitious and historically nuanced exploration of white grievance in a putatively postracial America. Highly recommended.
Kudos to Claire Vaye Watkins for taking home the Dylan Thomas Prize! Worth £30,000, the prize went to Watkins because, in the words of of the chair of the judging panel, she possesses “some of Dylan Thomas’s extraordinary skill in the short story form.” (Read more about Watkins’s work in Geoff Mak’s review of her 2012 book Battleborn.)
If for some unspeakable reason you didn’t follow my advice when I urged you to subscribe to the VQR over a year ago, then perhaps you need more convincing. Enter: Ron Charles. He’s got a brief preview of the magazine’s Winter Issue, which hit shelves this week, and which contains an essay based on Natasha Trethewey’s Library of Congress speech.
At Jacket Copy, Carolyn Kellogg talks with Jonathan Lethem about his new novel Chronic City “I love to dwell in the space of a novel — I don’t find writing uncomfortable, it’s something I really love doing. Writing a long novel, especially, it means that I’m creating this whole other set of people that I’m interested in, and this whole other world I get to go into, and I try to stay there. I try to go every day, not just to see the word count amass, which is helpful, but because then my subconscious is kind of living there.”
Sasha Frere-Jones, who you may know from his work at The New Yorker, has listed his favorite albums of 2011, and even put together a Spotify playlist of some of his favorite singles. Isn’t that nice of him?
“‘There is almost no work, within the vast range of literature and science,’ [Thomas Jefferson] wrote in an 1874 report, ‘which may not at some time prove useful to the legislature of a great nation.’ Thus the Library Of Congress’s mandate expanded: it would acquire anything and everything of importance … By the late 19th century, the LOC had become a kind of national brain trust, a heritage of information that aspired to timelessness.” This piece on the Library of Congress and its internet progress (or lack thereof) is fascinating and thorough. Go and spend some time with the digital archive, there are only around seven million gigabytes of information for you to thumb through.