“I had dreams about tornadoes. I dreamed of houses collapsing, people searching through rubble for dead bodies. Most of these dreams involved watching a large tornado in a field as it moved directly toward me. Like the scene early in the film The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy looks out the window and sees the tornado approaching, that sense of doom is always present in my dreams.” At the Paris Review Daily, Brandon Hobson reflects on a lifelong fear of bad weather.
“There is no divorcing the lack of diversity in the outdoors from a history of violence against the black body, systemic racism, and income inequality,” writes Rahawa Haile in her description of hiking the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, Haile documented her journey and the books she carried — books written by black authors. In a debrief interview, she explains her motivation: “I want[ed] to bring these books places no one likely has. I want[ed] to document where black brilliance belongs.”
“I can’t remember another single work of art ever having had that immediate and powerful an impact, which of course makes the experience quite impossible to describe. As I experienced it, it drove me out of my wretched mind … I do know that I knew immediately that my sense of what science fiction could be had been permanently altered.” William Gibson on having his world rocked (and artistic sensibilities altered) by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée.
In his lifetime, Vladimir Nabokov travelled widely, logging many years each in St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Ithaca, New York, where he wrote Lolita while teaching at Cornell. His peripatetic history explains why few people know he spent a summer in Utah, during which he spent a lot of time chasing butterflies and fishing in the streams. In The American Scholar, an excerpt of Nabokov in America, an upcoming book by Richard Roper. You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
The New Yorker has launched an online-only series dedicated to the novella, featuring longer works of fiction the magazine isn’t able to fit into print. “The novella is not, usually, an expanded story. Rather, it is a contracted novel, in which the omissions cover much ground. It is more ambitious than a story, denser and more gemlike than a novel.” Callan Wink’s In Hindsight launches the series, with an interview with the author.
Tournament of Books fans: The official Tournament of Books bracket has been posted. Along with an introduction to this year’s literary throwdown, readers can get a gorgeous bracket poster, sure to become the decorative centerpiece of any library wall.