Echoing Kevin Hartnett’s new year’s resolution here at The Millions, Colson Whitehead tells writers to quit bitching about getting distracted by the internet.
One of the more common questions that comes up in The Nervous Breakdown’s self-interviews is what the subjects consider to be the hardest part of the writing life. The most recent edition sees Jac Jemc, whose latest came out last week, admit that time is what foils her: “Everything takes longer than I think it will, more drafts than I think it will.” This might be a good time to look back on some earlier examples of the form.
It seems almost silly to mention it since the book’s been on shelves and discussed in the book pages for a couple of weeks now, but the “official” release date of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King is this Friday. (Our review was published today.) Meghan O’Rourke’s grief memoir The Long Goodbye is out this week. And another look at our culture through the lens of our technology is now out, Steven Levy’s In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.
We’re surprised McSweeney’s didn’t think of this sooner: A handsome large-format volume called Art of McSweeney’s; Chris Ware and many more. There’s also a debut that’s been getting some notice, Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross. And finally, sometime Millions interviewee and interviewer Nic Brown has a new novel out: Doubles.
Elmore Leonard is set to receive the 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which has been awarded annually by the National Book Foundation since 1988. The medal is intended to recognize the achievements of “a person who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work.”
“The story that Lee’s book tells (or tries to tell, because much evidence has been obscured or lost) is not about patience on a monument but about talent buried under a heavy plinth, and discovered only just in time—the late achievement less a measured distillation than a lifesaving decoction.” James Wood reviews Hermione Lee‘s new biography of novelist Penelope Fitzgerald for The New Yorker. Pair with Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin‘s Millions essay on the new age of biography.