“Dear Marlon, I’m praying that you’ll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it….You play Dean and I’ll play Sal… I’ll show you how Dean acts in real life, you couldnt possibly imagine it without seeing a good imitation…” From a letter from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando. (via The Rumpus)
Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“
Authors, including Jennifer Egan, George Saunders, Ali Smith, and our own Chigozie Obioma, chose their Best Books of 2017 in a two-part series for The Guardian. If you enjoyed that list, make sure to check out our Year in Reading: 2017 series all throughout December.
“My scant respect for the trade to which I belong (from the most ancient of academicians to the most youthful of libelists) derives from a childhood home in which I grew used to mistreating and misusing almost all the seminal texts from the history of culture.” Javier Marias on the dangers of growing up with too many books.
“Tracing the journey of a mediocre actor and Holocaust survivor ‘touched by some mysterious higher design’ as he forges and impersonates his way through the war and then back to the city of his birth, the story is part Samuel Beckett and part Isaac Bashevis Singer, with a sudden final bolt of O. Henry. It has the flavour of a morality tale, but what’s most fascinating to me is how difficult it is to derive a moral from it, or rather how easy it is to derive more than one and how openly they stand in conflict with each other.” Kevin Brockmeier extols the fiction of Leandro Sarmatz.
J. K. Rowling will receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award “for her efforts to fight inequality and censorship”. Rowling joins the likes of Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, and Tom Stoppard. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg reflects on the magic of the Harry Potter series with librarian Cynthia Oakes.