God’s terse first line in the Book of Genesis — “Let there be light” — was ready-made for the Twitter generation. If only the rest was as crisp, the British novelist Jeanette Winterson recalled thinking, as she began to reckon with that first book for a new theatrical project on the King James Bible. And then it hit her: Maybe God’s wisdom would crackle for a modern audience as Twitter posts of 140 words or less.
“All of your life, you think of that one fluid motion of power, terrorized by the fact we are capable of such collisions, such harm, such leveling of each other to flattened mountains, left to tunnel into ourselves, such wretched unhappiness, such unfathomable cruelty unless resurrected by the tenderness and affection of a lover, by kisses that leave us enthroned.” Major Jackson is next up in the Kiss series from Guernica Magazine — a weekly column which investigates that most intimate of human interactions, the kiss, in all its many manifestations.
The day has come. Amazon just announced that it is now selling more e-books than physical books, and its ad-infused “Kindle with Special Offers is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family.” Meanwhile, it’s still news when a well-known author publishes an e-book (in this case, Susan Orlean’s new Kindle Single Animalish).
The great singer-songwriter Josh Ritter is on tour with Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit. In honor of that, here’s puppet master Liam Hurley‘s video for Josh Ritter’s beautiful ballad “The Curse,” a song about a mummy falling in love with the archeologist who discovers him.
One of the most exciting new books of 2013 hits shelves today: Tenth of December by George Saunders. Also out are Will Self’s Booker shortlisted Umbrella, Rage Is Back by Adam Mansbach, Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra, Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensher, The River Swimmer: Novellas by Jim Harrison, Y by Marjorie Celona, Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman Love is a Canoe by Ben Schrank, Driver’s Education by Grant Ginder, and new from NYRB Classics is Testing the Current by William McPherson, with an introduction by D.T. Max. New in paperback are Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru and The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan. There are many more new books to explore, of course, in our huge 2013 books preview, published this week.
Author Jim Crace reflects on his final book in Abu Dhabi’s The National: “The thing is, I’ve written an appalling amount of books. … The writing life doesn’t last forever. I am fit and well, and there are plenty of other things to do that I’m excited about, which are incompatible with spending most of my life shut up in a room. So that’s what I’m going to do, write a final book, and that will be it.”
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.