“No one in his or her right mind would read James’s essay in order to vouch for or against its literary quality, but I am here to do just that.” Ryan Lejarde parses LeBron James‘s “I’m Coming Home” for The Rumpus and comes to myriad conclusions about sports, literature, and what it means to love Cleveland.
In a short biographical piece for Open Letters Monthly, Sam Sacks writes about the book reviewing career of Katherine Mansfield and the ways in which it “helped her build the writing muscles needed” to finish her masterful short stories. While some critics might take umbrage at the way Sacks characterizes Mansfield as “turning out deadline copy like an ink-stained Fleet Street hack,” his look into her reviews culminates in the realization that “the point [of reviewing books] is not to be constructive but to construct something of lasting value in the little space and little time you’re granted. Like all writing, it should be a passion, not a pastime. The point is to dazzle.”
At n+1, Nick Holdstock’s diary of International Pynchon Week, held in Lublin, Poland: “The conference room looked like the United Nations as depicted in ’60s spy movies … on the pad of the man to my left there were no notes, just a drawing of a cat wearing a shirt and tie.”
We like big books and we cannot lie. But are books just continuing to get longer and longer? A new survey of bestsellers has concluded that the average book is now 25% bigger than its counterpart fifteen years ago. The Guardian investigates. Mark O’Connell at The Millions has his own theory about long books.