Adam Mansbach’s “viral,” tongue-in-cheek kids’ book for adults, Go the F–k to Sleep is now out. We interviewed Mansbach years ago, pre-frenzy, about other matters. This week also offers up a pair of much anticipated novels for the literary set, The Astral by Kate Christensen (don’t miss Edan’s interview with Christensen today) and The Curfew by Jesse Ball, and a rather specialized tome for fans of literary history, Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms.
“It helps to be nobody if you want to be somebody.” Over at The Daily Beast, Ted Gioia takes a look at what he calls the new cult of the anonymous artist. From the famously infamous graffiti artist Banksy to the enigmatic Italian novelist Elena Ferrante, there is certainly no denying that, whatever the reason, anonymity is “in.” Here’s an older Millions essay that takes a look at Banksy, obsession, and the sea.
“I realize that, like most fantasies, reality is likely to be more complicated. For starters, literary communities—like most communities—have echelons. They have cliques; they have ghettos. You are the wrong age, work in the wrong genre, don’t know the right people, don’t teach at the same program … Anyone who thinks this isn’t true is someone squarely at the center of his or her chosen circle.” On peripherality and the uncertain nature of literary community.
Learn more about Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Cao Wenxuan. “China has given us so many heartbreaking stories. How can you avoid writing about them? I can’t sacrifice my life experience in order to make children happy.” Pair with Edan Lepucki’s piece on the grown-up counterparts to children’s stories.
No one knows quite how to categorize Max Blecher’s Adventures in Immediate Unreality, in part because it has elements of a novel, a memoir and a long poem. The early 20th century Romanian writer chronicled his own slow death and the effect it had on his senses. At The Paris Review Daily, Andrei Codrescu writes about a reissue of the book.
When your father shows you The Wrath of Khan at a young age, you develop an appreciation for the late Leonard Nimoy, whose death scene as Spock in that film is among his most famous performances. For Jen Girdish, that appreciation led to this essay, which reflects on Nimoy, her father’s own death and the onetime ubiquity of VHS tapes.