Millions contributor Jacob Mikanowski takes a gander at Geoff Dyer’s Zona, and he invoked both Wittgenstein and Bolaño by the third paragraph of his write-up, so you know things are about to get heady.
We’ve been following the raging debate about diversity in the publishing industry, which recently re-triggered when BookExpo America released a speaker list of “29 white people and a cat” (as The Toast summed it up). The panel was rebalanced, but debate around the root issue continues: recent data indicates, for example, that while the US has become more diverse in population, the number of multicultural childrens’ books has remained flat under 10 percent for two decades. Follow the continuing debate on Twitter hashtags like #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #DiverseCanLit, or look to this helpful round-up of blogs and articles at BookRiot.
Jeff Vandermeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy: a genuinely weird work of ecological fiction, a hyper-object, or a strangely beautiful “glimpse of a whole that’s, by its nature, unknowable”? Joshua Rothman argues for all three in a review for The New Yorker. For more from Vandermeer himself, check out his Millions interview with Richard House, author of The Kills.
“Then there’s the no-one-reads-anymore hysteria, the lack of supportive careers for apprenticing writers, the MFA deathtrap, etc. It feels self-indulgent as a critic to say, ‘But the whole critical structure has broken down, let’s talk about that.’ The critic only comes into play when the books are actually produced and put onto the market, meaning their jobs are tied into this whole decaying, rotting mess of an industry.” Jessa Crispin writes on the self-hating book critic.
After the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska died fighting in the trenches, Ezra Pound wrote a book about his work, inspiring a wave of interest that brought the sculptor to prominence. The book came out in 1916, a year after Gaudier-Brzeska’s death, and kicked off a succession of great books that tackle his sculptures. Yasmine Seale writes about their legacy in the LRB.