After waking us up to their favorite Brazilian novelists, the editorial board at Granta is turning its gaze to Norway. In the first issue of Norwegian Granta, you’ll find a slew of stories by illustrious contributors (among them Jennifer Egan, Roberto Bolano and Alice Munro) alongside new stories from authors native to the country. At Granta’s website, you can read an interview with the magazine’s online editor, Ted Hodgkinson.
How did Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean create one of DC’s most popular comics in history? The Guardian finds out the inspiration behind The Sandman. McKean shares the stories behind his favorite covers, and Gaiman also addresses his resemblance to Dream. “I suppose he looks like me, though. But that’s one of those peculiar things where you gradually start to look like your dog.”
Why did Richard Brautigan’s friends eventually stop inviting him to parties? Was it because he got drunk? Was it because he brought too many friends? Or was it because, as Michael LaPointe suggests in his review of Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan, he liked to pack a revolver?
Online used book marketplace AbeBooks rounded up the most expensive books sold via its site in October. At the top is a collection of Scottish music from 1782 that went for $8,500. Also on the list are some collectible Tolkien and Hemingway. (Thanks, Laurie)
On Zadie Smith in the Guardian: The new novel arrived fully-formed: Zadie Smith woke up one morning, and On Beauty was all there, in her head. She wanted to write a long marriage – she’d just got married herself, was curious what 30 years of it would be like – and she had a plot. When she described it to her new husband, poet and novelist Nick Laird, however, he pointed out she was simply rewriting Howards End. But she has never been afraid of tribute, and [E.M.] Forster was a “first love”; she had a couple of serious wobbles but this did not put her off.The Guardian also gives the book a good review. On Beauty comes out September 13.Every once in a while I spot an interesting looking item in those ads at the top of the page. Today I saw one for Out of Eden: Odyssey of Ecological Invasion by Alan Burdick. It looks like the sort of book you’d like if you like Jared Diamond’s books. It describes how different invasive species have managed to relocate to new parts of the globe.Tattoos and literature are becoming ever more enmeshed, it seems. Recent novels by Jill Ciment and John Irving dwell on tattoos, and now a Brooklyn writer, Shelley Jackson, “has been having volunteers tattooed with individual words of her 2,095-word short story (“Skin”) since 2003. Only 700 words remain to be tattooed.” Read about it here.Another online book-tracking and tagging application: Reader2