Ever wonder why some countries get a fancy “the” in front of their names?
Out this week: Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami; The Purple Swamp Hen by Penelope Lively; Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane; House of Names by Colm Toibin; and Woman No. 17 by our own Edan Lepucki. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Over on The Busy Signal, Matthew Hunte presents 75 Notes For An Unwritten Essay on Literary Prizes. (22. “Want it? Want it? Of course I wanted it. I wanted it so fucking bad I could taste it!”)
The oil boom occurring in North Dakota, Montana, and Canada's Bakken Formation is so frantic right now that ND's unemployment rate is only 3.4%, the lowest in the nation. "Hiring is so frantic," writes Business Week's Bryan Gruley, "the McDonald's in Dickinson [North Dakota] is offering $300 signing bonuses."
Lucky Alan, which came out in February, is Jonathan Lethem's first new story collection in more than ten years. He talked with Matt Bell about it in an interview at Salon. "What’s great about short stories is the opportunity to play at reinvention; all those new departures, all those new landings to try to stick," he says. You could also read our review of his novel Dissident Gardens.
Inua Ellams wrote a poem entitled “Portrait of Prometheus as a Basketball Player” in which he imagined “the fire stolen from the gods to be shaped as a basketball, and Prometheus dunking light into the world.” [Note: Ctrl + F for “Portrait of Prometheus” at this link to read the poem.] Over at Magma, Ellams discusses “the process of composing a poem, as a coach might stitch a [basketball] team together.” Perhaps all of this explains Patricia Lockwood’s interest in Shaquille O’Neal?
Maybe you’ve been enjoying Crapalachia (Excerpt) as much as everybody else these days – or perhaps you’re just a big fan of the Appalachians (and hopefully not MTV’s Buckwild). Either way, you should get a kick out of Scott Hubener’s The Space In-between project. The photography series “documents the landscape and residents along U.S. Route 23, between Asheville, North Carolina, and Johnson City, Tennessee.”