Will Self, whose novel Umbrella was recently tapped for the Booker Prize Longlist, talks about his literary influences with The Browser. For what it’s worth, here’s Self’s take on writing with the specific goal of a literary prize in mind: “I don’t know any writers who are trying to be clever and get a literary prize. Who the fuck would bother with such a thing?”
My "10 Best Songs Based on Books" list, from yesterday's Observer (UK), is up on the Guardian's website. Obviously it's not so much the 10 Best as the 10 Best I could think of while writing the list, but that kind of equivocation makes for terribly unsnappy titles.
We've already got several RSVPs for our NYC indie bookstore walking tour. Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.The Millions' Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places is still being added to by our enterprising readers. London in particular is now bristling with points of interest including many bookstores and destinations like St Pancras' Old Church, where you'll find the graves of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.Wyatt Mason's terrific profile of the poet Frederick Seidel is a must-read.Slate's Troy Patterson describes the achievement of German sensation Wetlands in autoproctological terms.The William H. Gass site Tunneling posts some remarkable images of Gass' home library, originally published in 2007 in St. Louis Magazine.L.J. Davis, financial journalist and author of the recently reissued novel A Meaningful Life, offers an insider's look at house-flipping during booms... and busts.Is a two-novelist marriage sustainable? (from Canteen)And what's up with J.D. Salinger these days, anyway? (via)Philip Hensher looks back at novels from the dawn of the Thatcher era.Can't get enough of poet Nathaniel Bellows? Listen to him read.Is Barnes & Noble hoping to arrive better late than never to the ebook reader party?"Wendell Steavenson went looking for remorse among the men who served Saddam Hussein. Her fruitless search, George Packer writes, has produced one of the few lasting works to come out of the Iraq war."Google gets even better at scanning books.Green Apple Books talks about "cool books we'll never sell."
“We have a customer who eats Bibles. She’s very nice, but she will walk up to a section, rip out a page, and eat it. She much prefers Catholic versions—she won’t touch King James Bibles.” This interview with the owner of Brattle Book Shop in Boston illustrates the peculiar idiosyncrasies of daily bookstore life. For all you romantics out there, here is a love letter to the brick-and-mortar bookstore.
This week in the New Yorker Jane Hu analyzes the "dispassionate first-person narrators" prominent in works by English-speaking Asian authors and questions whether that makes it easier to identify with the narrator. She uses Chemistry by NBA 5 under 35 honoree Weike Wang as an example along with other recent works. "Against this tradition, there is, perhaps, another emerging, of Asian-Anglophone writers who both play with and thus begin to undo these tropes of Asian impersonality. The novels by Ishiguro, Park, Lin, and Wang all feature first-person narrators who keep their distance—actively denying readers direct interior access. This is true, it’s important to note, even when the characters they write are not themselves Asian."
“Trump has blocked me from reading his tweets. I may have to kill myself.” Stephen King responds to news that the U.S. President doesn't want the author reading his Twitter account. Luckily, reports Entertainment Weekly, J.K. Rowling has stepped in, offering to DM King anything he misses (these are all sentences we regret having to write, fyi). See also: Elizabeth Minkel's consideration of Rowling's second narrative thoughts.