Caleb Crain, author of American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation discusses the mixed feelings that a writer is subject to when it’s time to let go of a book.
Hosted by the Library of Congress, this year’s National Book Festival will take place on Saturday, September 2, in Washington D.C. and include authors such as David McCullough and Diana Gabaldon. Should you be interested in volunteering, click here to fill out a Google submission form or email Faye Levin, the 2017 volunteer coordinator, at [email protected] And let us know if you’re going!
Canonical literature isn’t the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, “A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself.”
Recommended reading: Harpers on the making and persistence of literary canons in a relativist age.
At 1,700 words, J.K. Rowling’s new “History of the Quidditch World Cup” may not be as daunting a read as J.R.R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in its appeal to ardent fans. At Slate, a brief look at the Wizarding World’s latest reference book.
Over at ZYZZYVA, Christian Kiefer talks to playwright Octavio Solis and novelist Scott Hutchins about the craft of writing and the difference between writing plays and writing novels. “It takes a huge amount of hard labor, man, to harness the forces that we are using to make our stories. They may emerge whole cloth out of our need to know how we operate as humans, but they’re often clumsy unfinished beasts.” Kiefer’s new novel, The Animals, is one of the most anticipated books of 2015.