The changes between the transcription of David Foster Wallace reading ‘A fragment of a longer thing’ in 2000 and the version of that story ‘Backbone’ as published in the recent New Yorker. (via The Paris Review)
Hope everyone’s holiday is going well. I’ll be putting up one or two more “Year in Reading” posts and then The Millions will most likely be dark until the New Year. But first, a couple of links:One of my favorite end of year lists is the bookfinder.com “Top 10 out of print books”: the main list and broken down into categories.Stephen King names his favorite reads of the year, including a forthcoming novel by A.M. Homes. His number one book, which he calls “the best mystery of the decade,” is LBC pick, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.Millions Flashback: Tis the Season
Recommended reading: Alex Beam on the distinction between books and “books.”
At the Philadelphia Inquirer, neurologists look at cases where serious brain injury has actually brought about higher levels of creativity in artists, particularly where linguistic ability is harmed. “Language is the bully of the brain,” [one neurologist] says. “It takes up its own space and if something else gets crowded out, too bad.” (via Book Bench)
“I have a theory: the thing that makes you a unique writer hasn’t got so much to do with your influences as it does with how you became a writer in the first place. I think your preferences—your obsessions—come just as much from the first sorts of things you consumed and were passionate about. Whether that’s pop music, comics, “lowbrow” fiction, soap operas, or anything else, the thing that matters most is what started you writing stories.” Amber Sparks writes about “lowbrow” influences and the many paths to becoming a storyteller in an essay for Electric Literature.
This essay by Mensah Demary for Electric Literature on Nas and the literary legitimacy of hip-hop is the best thing you’ll read this morning. “Nas is a world-class storyteller and practitioner of the narrative form,” Demary writes, “I don’t understand why there isn’t more discussion around hip-hop’s literary value among today’s millennial-and-boomer intelligentsia.”