Two ways of looking at a book: “Had I been still more articulate, I might have said that there’s a special readerly pleasure in approaching a book as you would a box. In its self-containment lies its ferocious magic; you can see everything it holds, and yet its meagre, often hackneyed contents have a way of engineering fresh, refined, resourceful patterns. And Emily might have replied that she comes to a book as to a keyhole: you observe some of the characters’ movements, you hear a little of their dialogue, but then they step outside your limited purview. They have a reality that outreaches the borders of the page.”
New! This! Week! Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers by Janet Malcolm, Red Moon by Benjamin Percy, Pacific by Tom Drury, Love Is Power, or Something Like That by A. Igoni Barrett (read his piece at The Millions), and Dossier K, a memoir from Novel winner Imre Kertész.
The Tournament of Books team over at The Morning News have posted an in depth commentary on this year’s withheld Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Wall Street Journal asks a handful of book critics to name the books they thought should’ve won. And over at Moby Lives, Nick Davies has rounded up the statements made by the jury in response to the brouhaha. Lev Grossman, on the other hand, outlines why he’s totally okay with the board’s decision. And of course, we’ve got links and excerpts for all the finalists over here.
“Genius” is a loaded term. Its application usually says more about the person making the judgment than it does about the genius in question. In The Guardian, Sophie Hannah argues that the term isn’t used enough to describe one writer in particular: Agatha Christie. You could also read Daniel Friedman on the terrible secret of all crime fiction.
Most of the time, when somebody insults a writer on Twitter, the insult disappears into the cyberspace ether. However, as with any rule, there are always exceptions, and one is when you trash Joyce Carol Oates and then thank her for inventing a breakfast food.