In addition to signed first editions and fancy restaurant dinners, the silent auction for West Hollywood’s new library included a special-edition signature mattress set.
Litquake, the West Coast’s largest literary festival, now offers downloadable bi-monthly podcasts via their website and iTunes. On the site presently are episodes with Geoff Dyer, Carolyn Burke, Adam Johnson, Joshua Cohen, and Molly Ringwald, and the group plans to livestream and post events from their upcoming festival (Oct. 5-13) as well.
For Perry Link, it was embarrassing to read Eileen Chang for the first time, because her work revealed things about China it took him too long to learn on his own. In The New York Review of Books, he writes about how Naked Earth, which the magazine's publishing arm is republishing in June, cut through the jargon of Chairman Mao’s regime. FYI, Jamie Fisher wrote an essay on the book for The Millions.
Martin Amis' The Pregnant Widow is out today (Kakutani sez, "remarkably tedious" but The Guardian adds, "Amis might draw comfort from the long and distinguished list of Kakutani's literary victims.") Also out, Sebastian Junger's War, the result of time spent embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan.
“'These issues are constantly being brought to the surface in Roman literature, if you have eyes to see them,' Beard said. 'And, of course, having eyes to see them—that’s what the trick is.'” Rebecca Mead writes for the New Yorker about Mary Beard, the Cambridge classicist famous for her BBC programs on Roman life and for her handling of online harassment. For more from Beard, check out her interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books about the importance of the classics, and for more about online negativity, head to Salon's article on "Why female writers get trolled the most."
What if H.P. Lovecraft's work were set in Hollywood instead of New England? At The Toast, Kevin Sharp writes Lovecraftian gossip columns. "Two very famous couples, both well known for their complicated personal lives and grand professional successes (less known, perhaps, for the horrid dark secrets that throb and scream in their antediluvian Hollywood mansions), met for a fateful dinner."
New this week: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie; The Visiting Privilege by Joy Williams; The Lost Landscape by Joyce Carol Oates; This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison; Cries for Help, Various by Padgett Powell; and Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.