The newest issue of The Quarterly Conversation is up. Eclectic as ever, it features pieces on Yasushi Inoue, Jose Saramago, Stephen Dixon, Thomas Bernhard, and more.
"On closer inspection, however, the book comes off as something more complicated than a flowering of one eccentric and filthy man’s erotic imagination. Its elaborate descriptions of pleasure given and taken start to seem like scrims for a moral argument about what sorts of sexual behaviors should be 'forbid' and which should be encouraged—an argument refined in prison by an author deeply occupied with thoughts of punishment, dissipation, and sin." On John Cleland's (very erotic) novel Fanny Hill and the importance of its having been written in prison.
Out this week: The Early Stories of Truman Capote; Slade House by David Mitchell; After Alice by Gregory Maguire; Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell; The British Lion by Tony Schumacher; We Five by Mark Dunn; and a book of quotations by Cheryl Strayed. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
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.
“Dr. Kristin M. Barton is seeking proposals for an edited volume … which will explore Arrested Development from a scholarly perspective,” reads a call for submissions on H-Net. I can see the titles of these essays now. Can’t you? “Desperation Economics: There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand” or “I Don’t Know What I Was Expecting: An Exploration of Dead Doves and Tragicomedy.”
Sarcasm makes the Internet go round. No, seriously, it basically does, and over at The Toast a linguist examines some of the strategies writers have developed, or are trying to develop, to communicate that sarcasm through writing, without the benefit of an eye-roll and a different tone of voice.