Over at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Nick Curley prescribes “five passages from great Irish writers” as a means of coping with Notre Dame’s recent loss to Alabama in the college football BCS National Championship Game.
George Dobbs explores the history of some common cliches for The Airship and makes an elegant argument for being aware of overused phrasing: "The worst fiction might never go beyond widely used tropes, but the best fiction starts with an awareness of them." We agree, and also hope never to read "It was a dark and stormy night..." again.
"In one of his last columns, published in March 1966, Flann O’Brien looked back on his catechism, compiled more than twenty years earlier, and described it as ‘an exegetic survey of the English language in its extremity of logo-daedalate poliomyelitis, anaemic prostration and the paralysis of incoherence.’ One month after writing that, he was dead, and yet within a year a remarkable renaissance was taking place, with the long-delayed publication of his great comic fantasy The Third Policeman and, soon afterwards, the first of many anthologies of the ‘Cruiskeen Lawn’ columns, this one entitled The Best of Myles.” (Related: our own Mark O’Connell on the humor in O’Brien’s work.)
Over at Catapult, Lynn Steger Strong writes on writing a novel that readers will read. As she puts it, “I was trying to explore the specific experience of living in the world while also living largely, sometimes to one’s own detriment, inside of books, inside one’s head.” Also check out this Millions piece, featuring six writers looking back on their first novels.
We fully expect all Christmas-observant Millions readers to have gifted (and received) at least one book this week. The Toast expects the same of their readers, and have provided a very handy key to choosing and/or deciphering passive-agressive literary presents.
The Coffin Factory, a "magazine for people who love books," interviews New Directions' Barbara Epler and Tom Roberge about "publishing and finding bold, new experiments in literature from around the world." (via)