On this day 124 years ago Raymond Chandler, hardest of the hard-boiled, was born. To celebrate the father of Philip Marlowe see these letters Chandler wrote to some of his contemporaries, listen to Chandler’s interview with Ian Fleming, and enjoy a couple classic Chandlerisms. Most importantly, read “The Simple Art of Murder,” the greatest essay about the mystery novel ever written.
"Because at the end of the day, there is no magic solution, no short-cut, to writing something that hopefully will last. No matter how we search for one." Jeff VanderMeer gives eight writing tips for aspiring writers in the Chicago Review of Books. See also: VanderMeer's prolific 2017 Year in Reading entry.
From the Paris Review, a small selection of Victor Hugo's four thousand drawings.
George Saunders shares his thoughts on writing his first full-length novel, the forthcoming Lincoln in the Bardo. As he puts it, “It’s like when you’re writing your first book, and you’re trying to figure out what kind of writer you are. This was like that.” Pair with our own Elizabeth Minkel’s piece on Saunders and the question of literary greatness.
After the death of Harold Ramis, it seems only fitting to read Esquire's oral history of Ghostbusters. Dan Aykroyd initially wanted it to be an intergalactic drama, yet he and others were happy with how it turned out. "People in the paranormal field loved it. It gave focus to their work," Aykroyd said.
The new issue of The Enemy is out, and it’s got some goodies which may be of interest to Millions readers. Among them are two new poems by Ruth Ellen Kocher, who won the 2014 PEN Open Book prize; an appraisal of the value of bad art by sociologist Alison Gerber; and a reassessment of the MFA by Beckett Flannery.
"Macbeth has a twist that sets it apart from every other Shakespearean tragedy: Macbeth murders his voice. Mad with fear that Banquo’s heirs will seize the throne, Macbeth has Banquo killed. After that, our antihero is on his own. There is no one left to verify what is real and what is not ... When Macbeth’s voice dies, everything else disappears, too. Macbeth is alone." This excerpt from Jillian Keenan's Sex With Shakespeare touches on everything from sexuality in Singapore to The O.C. fan-fiction.