Glen Duncan, author of the genre novel The Last Werewolf, opened his New York Times review of Colson Whitehead‘s Zone One with this controversial line: “A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star”. Understandably, this led to some uproar. Now he’s doubling down on his stance.
Olivia Laing has written an entire book about male writers and their relationships with alcohol, The Trip to Echo Spring, but in a piece for The Guardian she returns to the subject of writers and drink in order to respond to the question, what about women writers? Were any of them alcoholics? “Yes,” she writes, “of course.” She goes on to discuss the lives and work of Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, Elizabeth Bishop and Patricia Highsmith, their reasons for drinking and their experiences in a society much more willing to accept the struggles of men than of women. For more from Laing, be sure to check out her Year in Reading for 2013.
“Skipping or skimming parts of a narrative should not only be expected but encouraged, particularly if an author is writing without clarity or purpose or showing off. Life’s too short to slog through some smarty-pants attempt to demonstrate a mastery of mechanical engineering or botany.” Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes face off for The New York Times Bookends column about whether there are right and wrong ways to read a book.
We’re surprised McSweeney’s didn’t think of this sooner: A handsome large-format volume called Art of McSweeney’s; Chris Ware and many more. There’s also a debut that’s been getting some notice, Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross. And finally, sometime Millions interviewee and interviewer Nic Brown has a new novel out: Doubles.