“I never started out as a children’s book artist. What is a children’s-book artist? A moron! Some ugly fat pip-squick of a person who can’t be bothered to grow up. That’s the way we’re treated in the adult world of publishing.” The Believer interviews the late Maurice Sendak, who passed away last May.
“In a world where reality has become stranger than fiction, actual books are no longer selling.” At The New Republic, Morgan Jerkins talks with agents, authors, booksellers, editors, and publicists about whether the Trump presidency is bad for the book business. And on that note, let's revisit our own Bill Morris on book releases: “There are few iron facts in the crapshoot of the literary life, but here’s one: In book publishing — no less than in music, war, and sex — timing is everything.”
What makes a sentence sad? At The Missouri Review blog, Aaron Gilbreath explores just why certain sentences are depressing — from A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner to James Joyce's "Eveline." "Their emotional impact doesn’t stem solely from the combination of words. The impact often results from the circumstances of readers’ lives." Pair with: Sam Martone's metafictional short story about his grandmothers' deaths, "A Second Attempt," at Pithead Chapel.
On February 17th, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program will launch a free digital course open to everybody with an internet connection. The course is entitled “Every Atom: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself,” and registration is now open. The course will “take a collective approach to a close reading of America’s democratic verse epic."
You'd expect excessive swearing, smoking, and sex in a Bridget Jones novel, but a few copies of Mad About the Boy have accidentally included 40 pages of English actor's David Jason's memoir, My Life. Publisher Penguin Random House has admitted to the hilariously postmodern mistake. To find out what's really in the book, read an excerpt at NPR.
Attention! 3 Quarks Daily has announced its 4th annual prize for arts and literature online writing, to be judged by novelist Mohsin Hamid. Articles from The Millions writers have won before (a piece from Lydia Kiesling in 2010 and another from Edan Lepucki in 2011) and we'd love to keep that tradition going. Nominations can be posted in the comments of the announcement, so please recommend any Millions writing you have enjoyed since March of last year. And to all of our guest contributors out there, be sure to nominate your Millions pieces!
"How can you write a complete story without a conventional plot? We often hear that in short stories, the main character must change. But in some stories, including some by Grace Paley, the characters don’t change. Instead, her stories change the reader. You’re different by the time you reach the end." We've told you about The Atlantic's "By Heart" series plenty of times before. This week, it's Alice Mattison, who touches on everything from character development to the strange stories of Grace Paley.
“[S]he and her sister should not be affected by the riot. Riots like this were what she read about in newspapers. Riots like this were what happened to other people.” The Guardian runs 'A Private Experience,' a short story from Year-in-Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.