A literary event with an extremely star-studded guest list will be held next month for a good cause. The World’s Most Literary Rent Party Ever will raise money for author Charles Bock’s wife, who is receiving treatment for leukemia, and will include Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Safran Foer, Mary Gaitskill, Joshua Ferris, Rivka Galchen, Amy Hempel, Nicole Krauss, Rick Moody, Richard Price, George Saunders, and quite a few others.
Are people losing interest in fiction that “offers more questions than answers?” In her book Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley suggested that modern readers have little taste for uncertainty. At The Rumpus, Rob Roberge asks how much this contributes to popular disinterest in literature.
“When it comes to the personal essay, we want so much and there is something cannibalistic about our desire. We want essayists to splay themselves bare. We want to see how much they are willing to bleed for us. This desire introduces an interesting tension for essay writers. How much should they bleed, and how much blood should they save for themselves?” Roxane Gay reviews Meghan Daum‘s The Unspeakable and reflects on the personal essay for The New York Times Book Review. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s Millions review of the same book.
Robert McCrum’s got a question for you, and I’m interested to know the answer, too. Who are the naked writers? My first thought was perhaps Truman Capote, because he wrote so often from bed, but that’s not exactly strong evidence. Anyway, here are some writers in their underpants.
Stop reading this post if you have things to do. Still here? You’ve been warned. Ray Cadaster compiled a list of The 50 Most Interesting Articles on Wikipedia, and then followed it up with a sequel containing 50 more. Over at Ploughshares, Justin Alvarez discusses his favorites among both lists, and he asks readers to share their best discoveries. As you go through these articles, keep an eye peeled for posts worthy of Citation Needed.
Sara Nović writes for The Believer about the deaf protagonist of Stephen King’s The Stand. As she explains it, “This is the plight of the average deaf character: to be plagued by the hearing author’s own discomfort with the idea of silence.” Pair with Lydia Kiesling’s Millions essay on King.
Patrick Reardon looks at 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die for the Chicago Tribune, and decides he wants to add his own favorites. Check out his eclectic list at the end of the piece. (thanks Steve)Maud mentioned off-hand that she abandons 95% of the books she starts before page 50. Sandra posted that this was “quite a failure rate,” and Maud responds in the comments that in this case she was “pining for a very specific kind of manic reading experience that happens for me maybe ten times a year now rather than every few days, as it did when I was a child.”Dogbert writes a book: “It’s part fake autobiography and part plagiarism” (via H2O)Pinky is about to start an MFA program at Pitt. The reading list looks excellent.Harper Lee will have an item in O of all places. According to the AP story, “a letter for Oprah Winfrey’s magazine on how she became a reader as a child in a rural, Depression-era Alabama town.” It’s for the July “special summer reading issue.”