Believe it or not, there may be a connection between Walt Whitman and US drones.
Tonight! Come out and meet The Millions! Listen to readings from Emily St. John Mandel, Sonya Chung, Michael Bourne, and Garth Risk Hallberg. Also, you can meet our editors C. Max Magee and Ujala Sehgal. Or, if you’re feeling testy, you can debate me in person about my recent eReader article!
Any writer who has felt the sting of rejection—that is, all writers—will be inspired by the story of Dick Wimmer, who has died at the age of 74. Over the course of 25 years, a total of 162 agents and publishers rejected Wimmer’s first novel, Irish Wine, before it was finally published by Mercury House in 1989. The New York Times called it a “taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel.” The L.A. Times invoked James Joyce in its review. Wimmer, the iron man of the rejection wars, went on to publish two sequels, Boyne’s Lassie and Hagar’s Dream (All three books are now available in a single volume from Soft Skull.) The moral of Wimmer’s story? Never give up.
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.
The brand new Library of Birmingham opens next week, and the gigantic structure is said to be “Europe’s largest public library.” In addition to its modern architecture, the facility also offers “a room from the 19th Century … to house one of the UK’s most important Shakespeare collections.”
“Trusting the literary press and the mechanisms of the market to curate the books we read and study is to hand over whole regions of literary curiosity and judgment before one even picks up a book.” On refusing to read. We’re not prepared to go quite that far, instead preferring our own Sonya Chung‘s practice of not finishing books.
In a piece for the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes about a new life of C. K. Scott Moncrieff, the first translator of Proust into English, and about the strange success and beauty his imperfect translation of Remembrance of Things Past achieved. The essay as a whole pairs well with both our own Bill Morris‘s essay against literary biography and Barclay Bram Shoemaker‘s Millions review of Mo Yan‘s Frog and “the trouble with translation.”