Ron Hogan has set up a new website in which he recommends books to desiring readers. Check out The Handsell for further information.
The “good bad guy” has been having his moment on television. From Don Draper to Tony Soprano, America loves the anti-hero. Here’s a look at some literary anti-heroes from over at Ploughshares. You are likely to either agree with or be enraged by this essay from The Millions on likeability in fiction.
Veterans of writing workshops will know that a good story has a heavy dose of conflict. One can add it to a story in many ways, but one of the best and most reliable is to add a predator, either in the form of a threatening organisation or an animal or person with malicious intent. At the Ploughshares blog, Year in Reading alum Megan Mayhew Bergman reflects on predatory literature.
There was a time, believe it or not, when poets made appearances on widely-seen American talk shows. That time was the fifties and sixties, when Carl Sandburg appeared on The Today Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now. (He also gave a speech before Congress and competed on What's My Line?)
"When you go to Narnia, your worries come with you. Narnia just becomes the place where you work them out and try to resolve them." Lev Grossman writes for The Atlantic about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and why fantasy isn't escapism. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki's review of Grossman's latest novel, The Magician's Land.
"Complacencies of the peignoir, and late / Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair, / And the green freedom of a cockatoo / Upon a rug mingle to dissipate / The holy hush of ancient sacrifice. / She dreams a little, and she feels the dark / Encroachment of that old catastrophe, / As a calm darkens among water-lights." Wallace Stevens's "Sunday Morning" is the perfect poem to kick off the day of rest. Here's a a brief profile from The New Yorker on Stevens' life and art.
“Adolf Hitler loved books—that nasty bent for book burning notwithstanding—and the book industry loves him back. Type his name into Amazon, and while he doesn't trigger the English-language numbers of Jesus (186,740) or Lincoln (70,710), he registers a solid 18,597—a stunning figure for someone who died less than 70 years ago.” On the Fuhrer’s paradoxical relationship with literature.