What do Talking Heads, The Smiths, Judas Priest, and Blondie have in common? They’re all featured in the playlist Picador made to accompany the paperback release of Jeffrey Eugenides’s latest novel, The Marriage Plot. The Spotify list is chock full of songs “Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell might have been listening to in the early 1980s.” You can read Eugenides’s take on the book’s genesis over here, too.
A while ago, I pointed readers to Charles Yu’s review of Buffalo Wild Wings, published as part of the series Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food. Now, on the other side of the tacky-bourgeois spectrum, Amelia Gray reviews Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle. Sample quote: “While I’m at home, or at work, reading or staring into space, it’s good to know that somewhere, a soup is doing the work of becoming more delicious.”
“In re-organizing the priorities of book publishing—by inventing new models rather than trying to repeat past success, by valuing ingenuity over magnitude, by thinking of sales as a way to make great books possible rather than the point—indie presses aren’t just becoming the places where the best books are published; they’re already there.” Over at The Atlantic, Nathan Scott McNamara writes on why American publishing needs indie presses. For more of his writing, check out his essay on Denis Johnson for The Millions.
Hold on to your starched collars: In breaking Shakespeare news, Oxford University Press announced that in its new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe will receive credit as co-author on the Henriad plays. And if you’re really tired of Will getting all the credit, you’ll enjoy our recent piece about the surge of interest in Ben Jonson, who’s basically the Third Tenor to their more famous voices.
“It makes you think you are just about to write, for once, something brilliant.” Everyone knows that Moleskines don’t really affect your writing, but they nevertheless represent a kind of literary standard. As we step into the future and doodling goes digital, will products like electronic writing tablets put the leather-bound versions out of business? Somewhere Hemingway is turning in his grave.
How can science fiction writers invent aliens and entire planets but not include multifaceted characters of color in their fiction? At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky discusses the genre’s equality problem and analyzes how race is viewed in everything from The Left Hand of Darkness to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. “When that future unthinkingly reproduces current inequities, it seems like both a missed opportunity and a failure of imagination.”