A few weeks ago, Benjamin Hale wrote an article for us about the trivialities and happenstance associated with publishing prizes. His point was that legacy was more important than short-lived fame. In a way, his piece is nicely supplemented by Tom Bissell’s essay on the luck and chance necessary to attain literary success.
In his 2015 Year in Reading, Garth Risk Hallberg told us about Max Porter’s Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, a quasi-poem/novel/memoir which “you will quickly forget is weird as hell, because it is also beautiful as hell, moving as hell, and funny as hell.” Though the book isn’t slated for stateside release for another few months, there is a fantastic review over at the London Review of Books that’s well worth the read.
Year in Reading alumnus Alexandre Chee writes about the courage of being queer. As he puts it, “I am sure the 49 patrons who died at Pulse that night didn’t necessarily think of themselves as brave for being there. But they were.” Pair with Claire Cameron’s Millions interview with the author.
A U.S. Navy commodore’s 1823 General Order announcing the imminent seizure of Key West – at the time known as Allenton – has been obtained, along with “1,000 other pieces of the island’s history,” by the Monroe County Public Library. The collection also includes a book from 1858 written by William Curry, “a penniless Bahamian immigrant who became Florida’s first millionaire.” Best of all? You can view some of the cache online.
New this week: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue; Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vásquez; The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride; American Prophets by Albert J. Raboteau; Odes by Sharon Olds; and The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed Xujun Eberlein, a “China-born and now Boston-based” short story writer, essayist and blogger about recent literary happenings in her native country. The first question they asked has to do with Finnegans Wake, which is selling surprisingly well in Chinese bookstores.