A very big week for new books: See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid; My Brother’s Book, the last book completed by Maurice Sendak before his death in May 2012; How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields; The City of Devi by Manil Suri; a new edition of Breakfast at Tiffany’s & Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote; The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne (see our interview today); P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters; Wise Men by Stuart Nadler; debut novels Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss and Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer; City of Angels, an autobiographical novel by Christa Wolf; and House of Earth, the lost novel of Woody Guthrie.
Out this week: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (who Angela Qian wrote about for The Millions in September); We Are Water by Wally Lamb; Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins; Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books by Claudia Roth Pierpont; and The Eternal Wonder, a recently discovered novel by Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck. For more on these and other new books, check out our Great Second-half 2013 Book Preview.
When somebody you’re talking to brings up a writer — say Richard Russo — that you haven’t read, but should have, you probably say you haven’t read them because you “just don’t where to start.” Unfortunately, the folks at Book Riot just published a book, Start Here, that might blow up your excuse.
“He was surely the greatest literary editor there has ever been – brilliant, autocratic, endlessly curious and possessed of an extraordinary fund of knowledge about a vast range of subjects. True, he was not always easy to deal with, but when has the best ever been easy?” John Banville on the late Robert Silvers.
“Since the middle of the 20th century, the academy has conditioned us to stay grounded within texts and steer clear of writers’ biographies for insights while biographers are often timid about the kind of playful speculation that we can undertake here in Slate. Readers, myself included, tend to wonder about the sources for characters the likes of Kurtz, Sherlock Holmes, and Jay Gatsby—larger-than-life, mysterious, existing on a kind of separate plane—and in doing so we are continuing the quests of the narrators who tried first (Marlow, Watson, and Carraway).” Matthew Pearl asks: was Robert Louis Stevenson the blueprint for Conrad‘s Kurtz?
Phillip Pullman, author of the much-beloved His Dark Materials series, has resigned as a patron of the Oxford Literary Festival due to the festival’s practice of not paying its guest authors. This move comes only one week after Pullman and the Society of Authors released an open letter to The Publisher’s Association and the Independent Publisher’s Guild, demanding authors receive fair compensation for their work.