Steven Pinker‘s The Better Angels of Our Nature posits that human violence is becoming less and less common in civilized culture. If your interest was piqued by the book’s review in The New York Times, you will no doubt be interested in his Edge Master Class as well.
“The real world is massive and chaotic beyond the scope of any story, but the novel has always been the storytelling medium that could come closest to capturing it. And the novels that dared to really try – from Hugo to Tolstoy – are often the ones that have endured.” That’s not to say, of course, that bigger is always better, and in an article for The Guardian Damien Walter argues against the current glut of epic, serialized fantasy novels taking their cues from George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire. As Walter puts it, “There are great fantasy short stories, novellas and single novels that deserve much wider audiences, but are sidelined by the industry’s unhealthy fixation with the serial format. It’s time for the fantasy genre to tell some new – shorter – stories.”
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of those rare few classic novels that translates well to the big screen. To some extent, this was intentional — Nabokov often wrote fiction with an eye to selling film rights. John Colapinto writes about the author’s relationship with the cinema over at Page-Turner. You could also read our own Lydia Kiesling’s Modern Library Revue of Lolita.
“Your shipment of personal copies will never arrive. Your publisher will not be able to track their fate, nor replace them. A week will pass and you will wander into the animal shelter at a nearby strip mall and find a dog cage lined with the urine-soaked pages of your book. Your eyes will meet the eyes of the miniature schnauzer that resides in your shredded work. You’ll think: this is fate. But the adoption center won’t approve your application because you can’t claim any substantial income.” Electric Literature has compiled the “The Ten Ways Your Life Will Change After You Publish Your First Book,” so you can’t say you weren’t warned.
At The Washington Post, Michael Dirda on the dissolute genius Thomas De Quincey (opium addict, original chronicler of addiction, master of the macabre, prolific C19th essayist).