“But reading Finnegans Wake is more than a matter of collecting one’s favorite quotations – even if there is a huge pleasure in that, especially if you admire truly terrible jokes.” Michael Wood writes an essay on James Joyce, Lewis Carroll, and the origins of clever wordplay for the London Review of Books.
“Bestselling self-published authors attract producers because they have a proven track record if they stay on Amazon sales charts over time.” The Guardian considers the Hollywood success of writers such as Andy Weir, E. L. James, and Mark Dawson. And just last year our own Bill Morris wondered why literature was enjoying such a good run out in LaLa Land: “Four novels as source material for Oscar-nominated screenplays? What happened? Did some pixie slip a vial of smart powder into the L.A. drinking water?”
Ahead of next week’s publication of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the battle over Stieg Larsson’s lucrative literary estate. (Thanks, Craig)
A new YA series spun off from The X-Files explores Fox Mulder’s teen years, and you can read the first chapter here. You may also be forgiven for feeling like the entire premise is a bit fraught. Not only is the mental image of Spooky Mulder with acne a tad jarring, but on a more existential level, as Zan Romanoff has written for our site, “there is no such thing as the young adult novel.”
Isotropic Films has begun filming a “fresh, modern horror [film] version” of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. At The New York Review of Books, Mark Harman offers a new translation of the late author’s “A Message From the Emperor,” which Harman calls “hauntingly oblique.” Further away still, Elif Batuman recognizes some Kafkaesque street signage in Turkey.
It’s high time we acknowledge the mastery of the short story by some really fantastic American women. At LitHub, Bridget Read makes a compelling case for such writers as Lucia Berlin and Jamaica Kincaid as veritable dons of the genre. This piece pairs nicely with a recent Millions essay by Adam Boffa on terseness, Twitter, and Lydia Davis.
Two journals started the week by showing off their fancy new faces. Gigantic launched a new web site for the magazine, featuring a chapter from Shya Scanlon‘s Forecast 42 and new fiction by J.A. Tyler. The Barnes & Noble Review debuted a toothsome redesign along with a sobering essay on book publishing by former Executive Editor-in-Chief of Random House, Daniel Menaker.