“On the day I moved in, without giving it any thought, we started to refer to one storage space—there are three, two low-ceilinged ones on either side of the pitch-roofed room and one closet—as ‘the bad area.’ We had barely walked in, we (at least I) had forgotten the ghost, and here we were—‘the bad area.’” Amie Barrodale writes at The Paris Review Daily about life in a haunted apartment.
Literary Hub has an excerpt of an essay by Chris Jackson, Editor in Chief of Random House’s One World imprint on how we can actually achieve diversity in the publishing industry. “What’s the payoff of having a more diverse workforce? Well, there’s obviously the moral case to be made—and that’s a case that I think applies to any industry. But in book publishing, I think we have a special obligation, given our central role in shaping the culture.” And he shares the origin story of how he started to work with Ta-Nehisi Coates.
If you thought the English language went downhill when the emoticon was introduced, you can blame a 17th-century poet. Editor Levi Stahl found that English poet Robert Herrick used the first emoticon in his 1648 poem “To Fortune.” As Herrick writes, “Tumble me down, and I will sit/ Upon my ruines (smiling yet :)” For more on the potential ruin of language, read Fiona Maazel’s piece on commercial grammar.
Actor and humorist Nick Offerman at “By The Book” on choosing George Saunders to write his hypothetical life story: “I think [Saunders] would embarrass me by telling the justifiable truth, but with such élan that I would have to shrug and say, ‘It was worth it.’ If anybody could pull it off, I believe Mr. Saunders would have the tools and talent necessary to render the woodshop traumas of sandpaper and spokeshave, the roller coaster dynamics of a character actor’s life in showbiz, and my relentless penchant for filling a room with noxious gases into a palatable narrative. George — if you’re reading this and you’re up for it — before you dive in, I would just like to say that I think you’re very handsome.”
This week, Allison K. Gibson looked into the “awkward but necessary role of technology in fiction,” and what it means to include it or overlook it in a given work of fiction. Similarly, what’s with the absence of birth scenes in literature?
In an interview for The Atlantic, Greil Marcus talks about his new book The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years. Later on, however, he tosses off his gloves to dismiss the bits about Pauline Kael in James Wolcott’s memoir Lucking Out. “I’m not really interested in what Jim has to say about Pauline,” Marcus says. “He became an acolyte of Pauline’s in a way that was embarrassing to read, when he was mimicking her and celebrating her in The Village Voice.“