Maria Popova, who recently wrote a Year In Reading post for our series, has teamed up with artist Lisa Congdon on a new project concerning notable women working in art, science and literature. For each week in 2013, The Reconstructionists will present an illustrated portrait of one “trailblazing woman, along with a hand-lettered quote that captures her spirit.” Updates will also feature a “sort micro-essay about her life and legacy.” Up first in the series are Anaïs Nin, Gertrude Stein, Agnes Martin, and Hedy Lamarr.
Out this week: Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson; Dark at the Crossing by Eliot Ackerman; Days Without End by Sebastian Barry; Mexico by Josh Barkan; The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivak; and Number 11 by Jonathan Coe. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Pulitzer winner Tony Horwitz describes – in incredibly depressing fashion – his experience publishing Boom, a digital short representing his first foray into “the brave new world” of digital publishing. Two takeaways for aspiring writers that are not explicitly mentioned, however: don’t write without a contract, and be sure to use an agent from the get-go.
Just before he died earlier this year, Nobel winner Günter Grass completed his last manuscript, Vonne Endlichkait, “a literary experiment” that combines prose, poetry, and illustration. The book has just been published in German and will be available in English next year.
Riffing on R&B singer Ernie K-Doe’s one-time statement, Chris Rose writes in the Oxford American, “I’m almost positive that all music, at least all American music, comes from Louisiana.” The essay appears in this year’s OA Southern Music Issue, a reliably excellent source of tunes and writing. Indeed, as Dwight Garner put it in The New York Times, the CDs that accompany each annual issue “practically belong in the Smithsonian.”
Perhaps inspired by the news, first reported a few years ago, that mad scientists in the Indian army plan to weaponize superhot chilis, Lauren Collins ventures bravely into the world of extreme heat. As a warning to readers who fancy themselves tough, she quotes a doctor who makes clear that these peppers aren’t just hot -- they’re lethal.