Amanda Hocking, 26-year-old self-publishing wunderkind, earns a New York Times Magazine profile describing her road to a $2 million deal with St. Martins for rights to her ten novels including My Blood Approves and Hollowland.
Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s moving speech at The Sunday Times Literary Awards in which he speaks about the resilience of literature and the necessity of keeping less-popular languages alive is now available online. (Here’s our handy guide to pronouncing the author’s name, in case you were too embarrassed to ask.)
Why do the British tell the best children’s stories? Perhaps because their culture has remained in touch with its pagan folklore, whereas in the United States, more pragmatic tales of morality, Christian obedience, and bootstrap-lifting rose to prominence. Also, picture books: general good thing for children or roadmap to total the moral collapse of society?
“Of all the literary genres, poetry has proved the most resistant to digital technology, not for stodgy cultural reasons but for tricky mechanical ones.” Looks like that might be changing, however, as Open Road releases Flow Chart, Your Name Here and 15 other John Ashbery digital poetry collections.
New this week is Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages, while John Banville (writing as Benjamin Black) is out with Vengeance. Also new on shelves: Aftermath, a memoir by Rachel Cusk; Peter Heller’s post-apocalyptic debut novel The Dog Stars; David Gillham’s novel of WWII Berlin, City of Women; and In the Shadow of the Banyan, Vaddey Ratner’s novel set in the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge. Out in paperback are Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son and Edie Meidav’s Lola, California.
“For me, authenticity of setting is a kind of sine qua non for the feeling that a scene has been correctly done. I become unnerved if I haven’t got a ground plan, don’t know where my characters are. It’s a matter of personal psychology, I guess. I’ve always collected notes on settings. Most, of course, I’ll never use.” At the Tin House blog, Tim Horvath talks shop with Norman Rush.
Out this week: The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin; Martutene by Ramón Saizarbitoria; Black Elk by Joe Jackson; Float by Anne Carson; A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy; and The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.