William T. Vollmann has a new book out, Riding Toward Everywhere about riding freight trains. In what must be a first for Vollmann, the Washington Post describes the book as a “modest little volume.”The New Yorker held a contest to reinterpret Eustace Tilley, its “iconic dandy.” The entries are posted on Flickr.The anxiety brought on by selling books to the used bookstore.The Atlantic website goes free. Everything back to 1995 is available.n+1 interviews a hedge fund manager. It’s surprisingly fascinating (if you skim the technical stuff).Also in the world of big money, a record was broken on Monday. As global markets plummeted, French bank Societe Generale was selling frantically. The bank had just discovered that an employee had fraudulently lost $7.2 billion, believed to be the most ever by a “rogue trader.”
Chris Adrian‘s pedigree is impressive: former Harvard Divinity student; Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate; current fellow in UCSF’s pediatric hematology/oncology department; lifelong fan of Shakespeare. He’s also found time to appear in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and McSweeney’s. Great Night, his latest novel, imaginatively reboots A Midsummer Night’s Dream by setting it in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park. Here’s some footage of him reading an excerpt at last month’s FSG Reading Series.
“In the years before my book came out, I was writing frantically. I remember a week when I was working late at my job, late enough that the buses had stopped running and I had to take a cab home, and I still wrote into the night, trying to finish an essay I had promised an editor. Now I see that I was trying to race against time. I had believed, however irrationally, that there would be a moment beyond which my voice would be taken away from me and I would no longer be able to write.” On writing and tenacity.
“Can a conference really transcend its essential conferenceness?” For a conference on Geoff Dyer, that’s the essential question, and the Los Angeles Review of Books has an answer. Pair with Dyer’s Year in Reading and Janet Potter‘s review of Another Great Day at Sea.
Tana French pegs the cause of Ireland’s financial crisis on “a total disconnect between action and consequence.” For many Irish citizens since the collapse of the Celtic Tiger, she writes, “their whole sense of a world governed by coherent cause and effect, of their ability to have any agency in their own lives, came under attack.” Bonus: our own Edan Lepucki has previously written about French’s novels and plotting.