Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
Although Jon Fosse is not well known in America, his work is revered in his native Norway, where he stands on a par with his onetime student and American celebrity, Karl Ove Knausgaard. In a piece for The Paris Review Daily, Damion Searls argues for Fosse’s relevance, claiming that Fosse is the only writer whose work made him weep as he translated it. You could also read Jonathan Callahan on Knausgaard’s My Struggle.
The New York Times best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell recognizes that printed books can be beautiful, covetable objects that enhance the experience of reading. He hired Brian Rea, a frequent Times Magazine illustrator, and Paul Sahre, a designer who also frequently contributes to the magazine, to collaborate on the visuals for a new box set, Malcolm Gladwell: Collected.
Broke New York writers – by which we mean, New York writers – take note: the city’s Department of Housing is allotting a small number of $1,022 two-bedroom apartments to working artists through a convenient online application. (If that’s too rich for your blood, though, we’ve also noted previously that Write a House is giving away free houses to writers in Detroit.)
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about book sales — from what the heck even constitutes a sale, to standard print runs, to author earnings per sale — from Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature.