“Writing is the lonely sport of sad sacks.” The Rumpus interviews Lauren Groff, who’s a bit of a Millions favorite. Here’s her Millions interview and here’s Arcadia as Janet Potter’s Staff Pick this past April. Also, here’s a #LitBeat of a Literary Death Match she competed in earlier this year, in LA.
Recommended reading: The Awl takes a look at the “attempt to create a completely logical, absolutely universal language,” which goes about as well as you’d expect (read: not very).
I did not know this existed: Trivial Pursuit Book Lover’s Edition. I suspect that Millions readers would be quite skilled. Sample question: “What Hardy novel features a doomed title heroine who names her daughter Sorrow?” Bookslut took the game for a spin a few years back.
The CIA was known for unorthodox espionage techniques during the Cold War, but using Doctor Zhivago to undermine the U.S.S.R. is one of the strangest. The CIA helped print and distribute the banned book because it would make Soviets wonder “what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.”
The new year is, of course, a time for resolutions, and Electric Literature has collected literary resolutions from Alexander Chee, Year in Reading alum Emily Gould, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, and many more. Coming out of the hectic holiday season, Jonathan Lee‘s resolution seems particularly apt: “My literary new year’s resolution is to read slower. I want to try and re-discover the kind of reading where you savor every page instead of thinking about unread emails, progress through the book, progress through the to-be-read pile, and the quantity of remaining tea bags in cupboard.”