Do famous authors owe it to the reading public to publish their unfinished works after death? Casey N. Cep traces the contentious history of writers’ estates.
Electric Literature has published a look at two new Sherlock Holmes fan fictions, "the game," and various copyright complications, which just happens to dovetail with our own Elizabeth Minkel's Year in Reading account of admitting to loving Sherlock fan fic. In fact, loving the great detective has a lot to do with writing well: as Ryan Britt puts it, successful fan fiction authors "all love Holmes and his adventures way more than the man who created the great detective thought possible. Which, today, remains the biggest cultural mystery we’ll hopefully never get tired of investigating."
Mark McGurl author of the book that got everyone talking about MFA programs, The Program Era, mounts a spirited defense against Elif Batuman's much discussed review of the book. Among his ripostes: "One can be all for the deflation of liberal pieties without being a gleeful ignoramus about it, as though literary journalism needs its own Ann Coulter." Zing!
Laura Miller of Salon recommends Tana French’s new crime-fiction novel Faithful Place: “makes Philip Marlowe's L.A. look like a church picnic. French herself doesn't play by the rules...” Also out recently is a new edition of James Salter's short story collection Dusk and Other Stories, with a new introduction by former Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch.
Lots of anticipated books hitting shelves today. At the top of the list is Michael Lewis's look at the recent financial calamity, The Big Short. Also new today, Chang Rae Lee's The Surrendered, Ron Rash's story collection Burning Bright, Lionel Shriver's So Much for That, and James Hynes' Next, about which we have noted some intriguing Twitter buzz. New in paperback are Victor LaValle's The Big Machine and Dave Eggers' The Wild Things.
Lots of new releases this week, among them a new paperback edition of Tenth of December by George Saunders. Also out: Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus; The Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah; On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee; The Scent of Pine by Lara Vapnyar; The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd; The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani; and Little Failure by Year in Reading alum Gary Shteyngart. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
"Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat – and won. I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now." Masha Gessen for The New York Review of Books.