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.
Today marks the opening round of the always-worth-following Morning News Tournament of Books. In the ring, Adam by Ariel Schrag faces off against The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, in a match refereed by Matthea Harvey. For background, you could read our review of The Bone Clocks.
World Book Night is scheduled for this Tuesday, and 25,000 volunteers will gather to distribute free books to “light and non-readers across America.” Last year, our own Edan Lepucki participated in the event and wrote about it for our site. However this year, if you’d like to participate on your own, you can enter the organization’s book giveaway to receive “5 free WBN editions to share with others.” Get out there and spread some literary love.
Authors are known to mine material from their personal relationships for their writing, but John Updike found inspiration from his interviews. After journalist William Ecenbarger wrote a profile of Updike in 1983, he found himself the subject of an Updike short story. Pair with: Our review of Updike’s Collected Stories.
HBO turned down the television adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, despite an all-star crew: Franzen himself adapted the novel to television, Noah Baumbach promised to direct the series, and Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal were cast as leads. Novelist A-J Aronstein can now breath a sigh of relief; they won’t be filming The Corrections at anyone’s house.
Why do we reread novels obsessively as children but hardly ever as adults? At The Morning News, Clay Risen discusses why rereading appeals to children so much. “It was a residual sense of wonder, left over long after I had accepted that the reality on the page and the reality beyond it are distinct.” Pair with: Our essay on the pleasures and perils of rereading.
Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal’s column for The New York Times debuted last week with her reflections on the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. As she puts it, “He is a spider of a writer: subtle and sly, patient, with invisible designs. He never proclaims — he never needs to. He envelops.” Pair with John Yargo’s Millions essay on Hrabal’s fiction.
Anyone who’s read The Divine Comedy knows that rivalries and petty grudges are timeless. To further prove the point, Mallory Ortberg provided this list, which details the cattiest lines from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Sample quote: “Why do unskilled and ignorant souls disturb him who has skill and knowledge?”