“Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? / Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long,” crooned Brian Wilson in The Beach Boys’ 1966 hit “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” The song went on to become the title of Wilson’s autobiography. Now, over half a century later, the crew is finally older, and fans hoping for a reunion won’t have to “wait so long” because the band’s officially announced an upcoming 50th anniversary tour.
This week, Richard Ford published his first novel in a while to feature Frank Bascombe, the protagonist of his Pulitzer-winning book The Sportswriter. At Salon, our own Lydia Kiesling posits a through-line from Bascombe to a certain TV gangster, arguing that The Sopranos shares its view of manhood with Ford’s novels. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on Ford’s 2012 book, Canada.
Qiu Miaojin was a Taiwanese novelist and lesbian activist, and her short life has had a profound impact on queer literature since her suicide in 1995. Recently Bonnie Huie received a PEN translation grant so she could bring Miaojin’s best-known work, Notes of a Crocodile, to an English-speaking audience. You can read an excerpt of Huie’s translation on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop online publishing platform, The Margins.
“Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” Read an excerpt from the Black Lives Matter–inspired YA novel The Hate U Give by A. C. Thomas, scheduled for release next June. See also some of our favorite writers on their favorite political writing, or our review of Nate Marshall’s poetry collection, Wild Hundreds, which critic Emmanuel N. Adolf Alzuphar called “the foremost articulation of contemporary blackness’s dynamism in literature.”
When did romance novels get such a bad rep? They weren’t always derided as somehow lesser than other books. At Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth delves into the history of the modern romance novel, exploring how particular stereotypes latched on to the popular genre. You could also read Julia Fierro on sex and the literary writer.
On the heels of a New Mexico school district banning Neverwhere because a mother considered it “R-rated,” Neil Gaiman delivered a lecture for the Reading Agency about the importance of libraries and reading for children. “It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different,” he said about banning books.
“There are people out there who want you to write their novels for them,” observes professional ghostwriter Sari Botton. Over at Scratch, she shares some advice for breaking into the industry. Also, the magazine has made her longer article about “the spooky finances behind her gigs” free to read – all you have to do is register.