Lev Grossman offers some words of encouragement for aspiring writers: “because it turns out that talent, whatever that is, and that glowy aura, are only part of the picture.”
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the “bleak precise nature” of Philip Larkin‘s poetry (what Stephen Akey called “The Poetry of Mental Unhealth” in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. “In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack.”
“There’s still time to look something else up.” Merriam-Webster pleads with word lovers to prevent “fascism” from becoming its word of the year, The Guardian reports. See also: this Lithub piece about the social media genius behind M-W‘s Twitter feed.
Out this week: Bed-Stuy Is Burning by Brian Platzer; Gork, the Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson; Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong; A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma; Knots by Gunnhild Øyehaug; Pages for Her by Sylvia Brownrigg; and Moving Kings by Joshua Cohen. For more on these and other new titles, go read our just-published book preview.
Anne Carson, author of Nox (reviewed by Jane Alison last year), has a new book out, Antigonick, in which the translator and poet collaborates with an artist and designer to produce an unconventional translation of Antigone. Unfortunately, Amanda Shubert calls it “the first book of Carson’s where … her scholarly impulse barricades textual meanings. Usually it provides a generous way in.” Yet despite its problems, Shubert notes there are still “moments of brilliance,” and indeed the act of “doing Sophocles as a graphic novel … is kind of ingenious.”
Recommended Reading: Ted Widmer on the miscellaneous writings of Abraham Lincoln.