Did F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Crack-Up” essays — in which the author began to chronicle his mental collapse — usher in and anticipate the rise of autobiographical writing in America?
“We have a customer who eats Bibles. She’s very nice, but she will walk up to a section, rip out a page, and eat it. She much prefers Catholic versions—she won’t touch King James Bibles.” This interview with the owner of Brattle Book Shop in Boston illustrates the peculiar idiosyncrasies of daily bookstore life. For all you romantics out there, here is a love letter to the brick-and-mortar bookstore.
Some of the most revered literary novels that have appeared in recent years will be adapted for television. Jonathon Sturgeon writes for Flavorwire, “What do we call this new relationship between prestige and streaming TV and the literary novel? The two now shape each other in peculiar, formal ways—like lovers who share an apartment, they’ve started speaking and looking alike.” Pair with this Millions piece on literary magazines in film and TV.
Out this week: The Animals by Christian Kiefer; The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos; A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell; The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson; The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias; The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto; The Wednesday Group by Sylvia True; Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade; and Notes from a Dead House, a new Dostoevsky translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (whom we’ve interviewed). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
There’s a rumor circulating that Noah Baumbach may direct 20th Century Fox’s film adaption of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Richardand Florence Atwater‘s beloved 1938 children’s story about a man whose wistful obsession with penguins comes home to roost. There are also rumors that Ben Stiller may head the cast as Mr. Popper.
It’s a big week for new books. Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke is now out, as is Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy, Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge, and The Funny Man by John Warner, who recently appeared in these pages. Philip Roth’s American Trilogy is getting the Library of America treatment. (Capsule previews of all of the preceding titles are available here, incidentally). New in non-fiction is Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin. And out in paperback: none other than Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.
Writing for Full Stop, Robert Fay asks, “If Mr. [T.S.] Eliot had to have a day job, why is it that writers and poets today are so cagey about what they do to pay the bills?” Previously, two of our staff writers have explored similar aspects of the same question. In 2009, Emily St. John Mandel wrote of the “constant struggle” that arises from “striking a balance between writing literary fiction and paying the rent.” And last year, Edan Lepucki looked at the perils of including “non-writing jobs” in one’s author bio.