Diehard fans of Herzog, Dangling Man and other great books by Saul Bellow will be interested to learn that the author, as revealed in a new memoir by his son, once asked himself the following question: “Was I a man or a jerk?”
“You’ll engage with your advisor in a free-form dialogue about essential skills such as plotting your next career, pacing your financial ruin, structuring TV binge-watching during optimal writing hours, and characterizing all of this as ‘learning how to fail.'” Hey, this new low-competency MFA from the fictitious Half Mast College sounds pretty great. Here’s our own Hannah Gersen on why she has foregone the MFA route entirely.
The Hunger Games raked in $155 million in its opening weekend. That makes it the highest-grossing non-sequel debut of all time. Over at Salon, Laura Miller tracks the steps that led to the blockbuster’s mammoth success.
The wonderful folks at Harper Perennial are giving away a free PDF of forty short stories from the likes of Adam Wilson, Blake Butler, Roxane Gay, Kyle Minor, and many more. On July 17th, the group will also release Forty Stories as a free eBook through “all the major retailers,” too.
Over at the New Republic Year in Reading alum William Giraldi writes his “Confessions of a Catholic Novelist,” and they include ruminations on Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy, as well as on the inevitable impact being raised in the Church has on his own work and the writing of many, many others. Giraldi’s essay pairs very well with the work of our own Nick Ripatrazone, who has reviewed Giraldi’s Hold the Dark, written about teaching Flannery O’Connor to high school students, and just this week discussed the current state of independent Catholic literature.
Sean Manning boldly declares Vegas: A Memoir of a Dark Season — John Gregory Dunne’s first novel — to be “the best book about Sin City ever written.” And yes, he knows what you’re thinking. He really does think it’s better than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Out this week: Bardo or Not Bardo by Antoine Volodine; My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich; The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales; Mount Pleasant by Patrice Nganang; The Houseguest by Kim Brooks; and Ear to the Ground by David L. Ulin and Paul Kolsby. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.