If you like leading ladies so blazing they burn a hole in your head, make way to the East Village on Tuesday evening to hear Kate Zambreno and Laurie Weeks read at Dixon Place. Their latest novels, Green Girl and Zipper Mouth, depict intense, edgy women with razor-sharp prose. And befitting both protagonists, there will be an after-party with DJs and projections that will go on till…?
There are three kinds of readers of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: those who feel some niggling guilt about that brick on their bookshelf, those who've read it (proudly) but secretly may have no idea what happened in that tangled ending, and the people responsible for this excellent infographic. (Complement with cached commentary at Infinite Summer and a guide to the geography of Wallace's Boston.)
Curious what the Obamas will be reading over Christmas? The Scrutinizer in Chief stopped by Upshur Books in Washington, D.C. on Small Business Saturday to selected a nice little haul for the winter break with titles ranging from Jonathan Franzen’s Purity to Rachel Renée Russell’s Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life.
“As adults, we should hold each other’s work to high standards, and our own work to the highest of all. As writers, we shouldn’t settle for a single pale line. But before the poem is written, I say, we should lie to ourselves, the way we lied to that winded child. Before composition, we have to be gods.” Alex Chertok writes about literary pep talks for the Ploughshares blog.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, Americans are reading fewer books than they were back in 2014. A whopping twenty-eight percent of those surveyed reported not having finished even a single book in the past year, though the average number of books read per person last year remained at fourteen. For a little more in moderation lit, here’s an essay from The Millions on reading fewer books.
Year in Reading alum Elizabeth McCracken has a new story collection out this week, and to mark the occasion, she spoke with Kelly Luce over at Salon about her writing, her Twitter obsession and -- strangely enough -- cannibalism (at least in the context of fairy tales). She also talks about the importance of humor, lamenting that “some young writers mistake humorlessness for seriousness.” (Related: Tanya Paperny wrote a eulogy for the translator Michael Henry Heim.)
Joel Lovell profiles George Saunders for The New York Times, and he gives a killer endorsement for Saunders's latest book, Tenth of December. The author's collection from thirteen years ago, Pastoralia, was picked on our site as being among the "Best of the Millennium."