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.
We've already decided that it's okay for fictional characters to be unlikable, but what about nonfiction writers? At the VQR blog, Jennifer Niesslein interviews essayists on whether their success is based on how amiable they are. "I think it’s ridiculous to expect to like someone who wrote a book you love, but the increasing visibility of writers on social media—who are expected to be the ambassadors of their books—amps up the pressure to be well-liked," Cheryl Strayed said.
“He is for the most part interested in documenting the sources of our unusual suffering, those initial shocks that brought about the trauma in the first place. Nothing ‘languishes listlessly’ in his music; all those slowly orbiting fragments are drawn back together in furious rotation, sucked inexorably in, towards a volatile core. The mood never stabilizes; madness reigns supreme.” This piece by Tom Regel at The Rumpus on realism in the work of DJ/Producer Flying Lotus is both thorough and convincing.
To honor Peter Matthiessen, who passed away over the weekend, The New Yorker unlocked part of one of the author’s best pieces of travel writing. The piece, titled "The Last Wilderness," follows Matthiessen as he travels down the Amazon River. (His last novel comes out this week, as well.)
Amazon has just dropped the price on the Kindle yet again, but it comes with a big caveat. The Kindle can now be had for $114 if you select a version of the device that peppers you with special offers (Examples: $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card; $6 for 6 Audible Books; etc). Before the purists out there go too crazy, it may be some consolation that these offers appear only on the home screen and screensaver; they don't interrupt reading.
As part of World Book Night, a UK event designed to bring attention to books for adult readers, a number of famous authors have chosen books that they would recommend to readers. Stephen King's selection was Hash Kestin's small press effort The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats. Published by upstart Dzanc Books in the U.S. in 2009, the jolt of publicity generated by the King selection means the book will now be coming out in the UK as well. Our own Emily Mandel wrote a review of the book in 2010, calling it "a gritty enchantment"