The big literary new release this week is Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. Also recently out is Gertrude Stein’s long-lost oddity for children, To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays. New in paperback is John Brandon’s Citrus County.
Are you embarrassed about your lack of literary inheritance? You're not alone. Here's a great piece by Annie Liontas at The New York Times on those first, lonely forays into the literary world: "But I see my experience as an immigrant into the world of letters as a blessing. Being an outsider is the origin of my imagination; it gives me the constant consciousness that my perspective is only one of many and that there are myriad ways of being in the world. It grants me the gift of being attuned to the voices in the room, as well as all of those shut out of it."
Emily Dickinson didn't get out much, so why should we have to in order to read her work? Her open access manuscripts, letters, and envelope scribbles are now available online in the Emily Dickinson Archive. But now there's controversy over who is the rightful owner of her manuscripts and who should shape the archives — Harvard or Amherst?
Philip Roth, who just authorized Blake Bailey to be his official biographer, has written an “Open Letter to Wikipedia” wherein the author states his grievance with the site’s entry for his novel The Human Stain. Related: can we just give this dude the Nobel already?
When Octavia Butler died in 2006, she left behind unseen short stories. Butler's agent has discovered two unpublished stories in the author's papers. "A Necessary Being" features a lonely alien leader, and "Childminder" is about mentoring telepaths. The two stories will be published this summer in the collection Unexpected Stories.