“The best thing I ever do for my writing is to take a walk alone in the woods behind our house. Nothing else gets my writing juices flowing so well. And yes, I think that I absolutely need more quiet in our current fractured world.” For Poets & Writers, novelist Leesa Cross-Smith interviewed fellow writer Silas House about quiet books and the importance of nature in the writing process. Pair with: our own Emily St. John Mandel on the pleasures of quiet books.
This month the Cleveland International Film Festival will show Dear Mr. Watterson, a film exploring “how … a simple comic strip became so meaningful to such a massive and diverse group of people.” Yet despite the subject matter, the actual author of the Calvin and Hobbes series will almost certainly be absent from the screenings. Over at Full Stop, Liv Combe looks at the ways Bill Watterson is “keeping the idea of the private public figure alive.”
A spate of notable literary homes have dotted high-end real estate recently. Earlier, The Telegraph reported that Bran Castle, whose famed fictional occupants include Count Dracula from the eponymous novel by Bram Stoker, is seeking offers. Yesterday, Ray Bradbury’s cheery 3-bedroom yellow house was listed at at $1.5 million. Sadly, the more-affordable $350,000 home of beloved children’s book writer Beverly Clearly was snapped up last week. Writers hoping to add to the stock of literature-imprinted real estate, take note: Detroit nonprofit Write A House, which renovates vacant homes and awards them to writers and poets free of charge, is accepting applications until June 21.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a book that was at once so bold in style and ambitious in structure and so much fun to read.” The Guardian asks indie publishers about the books that made their year, including Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue (whose own Year in Reading you can find here).
In his novels and plays, Sebastian Barry often focuses on segment of Irish society that tends to get ignored in literature — the Irishmen who fought for the British Empire in the first and second World Wars. At Full-Stop, John Cussen reads The Temporary Gentleman, which portrays a British officer, Jack McNulty, who sets out to write his memoirs. (Related: Matt Kavanagh wrote a piece for The Millions on Irish financial fiction after the crash of 2008.)