“I am not at all sure—convinced, certain, persuaded—that creative-writing courses are a good idea unless they prevent people from writing sentences like this one, where adjectives—useful, helpful, intensely descriptive words—are stacked upon one another as Pelion used to be piled upon Ossa.” Alexander McCall Smith on the dangers of overwriting.
“I’m used to writing in very weird contexts.” Poet Brian Sonia-Wallace talks with Minnesota’s Star Tribune about his gig as the Mall of America’s first-ever writer in residence. Asked if he’ll go crazy during his several-day-long tenure, Sonia-Wallace answered “probably” (via Bookforum). Our own Marie Myung-Ok Lee had some opinions back when the residency was first announced.
Out this week: Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh; Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami; The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman; Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson; Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville; The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski; Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jeanine Capo Crucet; and The Daughters by Adrienne Celt. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
In writing her novel The Last Neanderthal, which published this week, Millions staffer Claire Cameron relied on Jane Smiley’s motto for writing historical fiction: “you are there.” Bonus: Don’t miss our interview with Cameron, in which she describes her many “life-long obsessions.”
There is going to be a documentary about Joan Didion. We repeat: a documentary about Joan Didion. This is not a drill. Watch the opening trailer and consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign here, and be sure to read our own Michael Borne‘s review of Blue Nights and S.J. Culver‘s Millions essay on “Getting Out: Escaping with Joan Didion.”