“I’ve never felt less self-consciously preoccupied with language than I did when I was writing Freedom.” Lorin Stein introduces The Paris Review’s new Winter issue, and includes excerpts from the Art of Fiction interview with Jonathan Franzen.
Move over Bella and Edward; Scarlett and Rhett were the original young adult power couple. At The New York Times, Claire Needell argues that Gone with the Wind is the epitome of the young adult novel. “The choice between two starkly different lovers (one gentlemanly, one roguish) appears, for the very young, to be a choice between two utterly distinct potential identities, two possible roads through life.”
“[I]n the world of letters, it is hard to imagine a more seismic change than this one.” The New York Times announces that its longtime book critic Michiko Kakutani is stepping down after nearly four decades of reviews.
The Times also offers a roundup of her greatest hits, including writeups of Beloved, Infinite Jest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Bill Clinton‘s memoir My Life:
The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.
This announcement was followed by the great news that repeat Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal will join Jennifer Senior and Dwight Garner as a Times book critic, leaving her position as senior editor of the NYT Book Review. Congratulations, Parul!
“7 Awesome Ways Barnyard Animals Are Like Communism.” From McSweeneys, great literature retitled to boost website traffic.
Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt by Kristin Hersh is a downright mesmerizing elegy to the eclectic singer-songwriter. Part idiot-savant, part deliberate curmudgeon , Vic Chesnutt (who Rolling Stone has called one of the greatest songwriters of all time) was notoriously difficult to spend a lot of time around. Hersh stopped by Electric Literature for an interview about the book and about losing her dear friend Vic. Bonus: for anyone unfamiliar with Chesnutt’s work, this video will get you close.
What happens when you grow up reading Harry Potter, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey? At The Morning News, five women discuss what it meant to come of age reading these books. “It’s more socially acceptable for a guy to watch porn than it is for a twentysomething woman to read these books. There is something that bothers me about that,” one women said.
Whoever decided to sign Noah Baumbach to adapt Claire Messud‘s The Emperor’s Children for the screen has a good feel for the material (Keira Knightley and Eric Bana are also attached). One kind of has to wonder about Richard Gere, though…the Murray Thwaite role is clearly destined for Brian Cox, or vice versa.
The publishers of the 33 1/3 series have made public the entire list of suggested albums submitted by their readers for the next book. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss your chance–the “Under-22” category is open through May of 2016. Pair it with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson’s hilarious musical soundtrack for her graduate school screenplay.