At The Awl, Noah Davis provides an honest overview of how difficult it can be to earn – or fail to earn – a living from freelance internet writing. Perhaps would-be freelancers should take a cue from Ian Hamilton’s 1998 London Review of Books essay in which he espoused the benefits – or perils – of accepting prizes and other literary subsidies.
One of the more common questions that comes up in The Nervous Breakdown’s self-interviews is what the subjects consider to be the hardest part of the writing life. The most recent edition sees Jac Jemc, whose latest came out last week, admit that time is what foils her: “Everything takes longer than I think it will, more drafts than I think it will.” This might be a good time to look back on some earlier examples of the form.
Haruki Murakami‘s Norwegian Wood has been dropped from one New Jersey school’s syllabus due to “some words and language that seemed to be inappropriate as far as the parents and some of the kids were concerned.” His publisher A. A. Knopf has issued a statement in response.
“It’s a major work of scholarship and interpretation, but also one that some readers may foolishly reject as unimportant on account of its theme, the ultimate ‘minor’ topic in the eyes of the heterosexual masses.” In the LRB, Terry Castle reviews Lisa Cohen’s new biography.
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
At The Guardian, Susanna Rustin interviews the Irish writer Edna O’Brien, whose new anthology of stories, The Love Object, comes out as an e-book this week. Among other things, she compares a writer who works on a book for only one day a week with a parent who leaves a toddler unsupervised: “You can’t find it again.”