In his review of Ben Marcus‘s The Flame Alphabet for the LARB, Lee Konstantinou suggests that we have now moved well beyond the death of the author: “In an era where everyone has a novel waiting to come out, authors are legion; it’s the reader who seems, well, dead.” When we interviewed Marcus earlier this year he did not seem particularly mournful. We also reviewed the novel.
"Year-end lists are always subjective and incomplete, but they are especially tricky for books. A dedicated film critic can watch every wide release film and a theater critic can go to most every play, but the book critic is faced with an insurmountable mountain of books each year. The sheer number of books is inspiring as a reader, but it can make “best of” lists laughably subjective when the critic has only read a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of books published each year." This might help to explain the logic and intent of our own Year in Reading series, but it also prefaces Electric Literature's list of the top 25 story collections of 2014 (which includes recent Year in Reading alum Phil Klay's Redeployment).
"I slumped into an empty corner opposite Say Goodbye, Cattullus and wept into my knees for a half hour." Catherine Lacey writes for The Paris Review's "Revisited" series, "in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago." Pair with our own Bill Morris's consideration of artists whose works channel writers.
If you see something, read something: Yesterday New York City's MTA launched Subway Reads, an eight-week-long initiative allowing strap-hangers to download novellas, short stories, or excerpts from books via the city's new(ish) wi-fi service in 175 underground stations. They've even timed the length of Which news in turn begs the question: what would Borges say?