New this week are The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus, a collection of William H. Gass’s writings, Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts, and Stewart O’Nan’s The Odds: A Love Story. New in paperback is Teju Cole’s Open City.
For those in New York City this week, Goodreads is hosting a literary pub crawl around lower Manhattan this Thursday night starting at 7 p.m. Millions contributor Emily St. John Mandel will be joined by fellow authors Colson Whitehead and Amy King for a reading at Housing Works. After that, the group will decamp for Botanica and Tom & Jerry's before finishing the evening at KGB Bar. The event is free (though the booze will cost you).
“Writing on a computer can be terribly distracting, so sometimes I like to use a pencil and paper to jot down ideas. I always end up drawing a cartoon duck. Inevitably, the duck is holding a notepad, and I can read the ideas that he wrote down.” At Clickhole, six writers explain how they overcome writer’s block.
Why is Hamlet so maddeningly indecisive? It’s a question as well-trod as any in literature, yet few people question that dithering is what defines the Prince of Denmark. In The Irish Times, Brian Dillon looks at another way of thinking about the character, one laid out in a recent book, that centers on the idea that Hamlet is crippled by “the burden of knowledge itself.”
In 1969, Random House’s Book of the Month Club offered members an edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Salvador Dalí. (You can view the full collection here.) Forty-three years later, the publisher had a mail delivery experience that was almost equally surreal.
Could it be for the best that Lisbeth Salander outlived her creator? Do writers own the rights to their own superstar characters, or do the rights belong to the readers? These questions and more are explored in a fascinating essay from The Atlantic. Here’s a Millions piece in which Pippi Longstocking is touted as Salander’s literary forebear.