Congratulations are in order for Vanessa Veselka: PEN American has awarded her debut novel Zazen the Robert W. Bingham Prize. I first heard about the novel last year, from what was then the brand-spanking-new LARB, though this Minnesota Public Radio profile of Veselka is also a great way to get acquainted with her exciting talents.
To address the state’s ongoing financial shortfalls, California’s government announced last May that they intended to close a quarter of the state’s 278 parks by next July. Upset by the decision to save money at the expense of the state’s natural beauty, three filmmakers embarked on a 3,000 mile trip around the Golden State’s wildlife reserves, recreation areas, and parks to shoot The First 70, a gorgeous documentary about the parks being closed and the individuals fighting to preserve them. You can check out the trailer over here.
Jeff Vandermeer writes for the Los Angeles Times about autobiographical influence in fantasy and sci-fi and argues that “there’s little or no difference in process or results compared to “normal” fiction, except that sometimes you end up with a dragon in your story and sometimes you don’t.” Pair with Alex Trivilino‘s account of “binge-reading” Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.
A few days ago, our own Kaulie Lewis pointed readers to a LARB essay about Geoff Dyer, which nicely complemented a piece about the author our own Mark O’Connell wrote for Slate back in June. Now, at Full-Stop, David Burr Gerard suggests that Dyer’s strengths, which worked so well in Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, may have hampered him in Another Great Day at Sea. FYI, our own Janet Potter reviewed the latter book for The Millions.
“Chris Lloyd adores a minuet / the Ballets Russes and crepes suzettes / but Foucault loves to rock n’ roll / a hot dog makes him lose control… what a crazy pair!”James Yeh and a plate of Korean barbecue co-star in: My Dinner with Shteyngart.Deborah Eisenberg reads Wells Tower.Open Letters Monthly looks at Landscape in Concrete, a lost classic from the World War II-era featuring a not-so-ÜbermenschWhat planet are translators from? Paul Verhaeghen spills the beans, in remarks from the PEN festival, (via Three percent)Novelist David Francis, guest-posting at TEV, pits the writer’s interests against those of the publishing industry.W.W. Norton “friends” the Dalkey Archive.Richard Ford tells Nam Le, “Giving a colleague a bad review is like . . . seeing a hitchhiker and rather than picking the hitchhiker up, you run over him.”The Second Pass reappraises Denis Johnson’s 1983 Angels (whose characters reappear in Tree of Smoke).Finally, a piece on Reif Larsen’s T.S. Spivet that doesn’t mention the size of his advance.After only a year, Wyatt Mason’s fine Sentences blog reaches a full stop.An amazing and cute fashion blog from a 13-year-old.The indie bookstore tour writ large: novelist Mark Fitten is visiting 100 indie bookstores and writing about it. (via Maud)Wikipedia find of the week: The Jimmy Carter rabbit incident