Kyle Minor previews five soon-to-press books that you probably haven’t heard about, but might want to check out.
"Though statements have been issued over the years, no one has ever provided full disclosure of the alleged 1974 government experiment called OPERATION EMU (Experimental Mitigated Universe) during which an entire Hollywood film crew, contracted by the government, disappeared in a remote section of Nevada." Is this Web site a mysterious government coverup of the ravings of a lunatic? Neither. It's the marketing campaign of a writer shopping his manuscript. (thanks, R.J.)The University of Nebraska Press has a blog. They've been plugging away at the blog since January, but I hadn't seen it until today, when I got an email about it.New issues of The Virginia Quarterly Review and Narrative Magazine are out.
Does modern China need its own literary sub-genre? On trying to understand China's "ultra-unreal" reality: "If Magic Realism was the way in which Latin American authors presented their view of their reality, then Ultra-Unreal Realism should be our name for the literature through which the Chinese regard their reality. The Chinese word 'chaohuan' (ultra-unreal) is something of a play on the word 'mohuan' (magic), as in 'mohuan xianshizhuyi' (magic realism)— 'mohuan' is 'magical unreal,' and 'chaohuan' is 'surpassing the unreal.'”
"At home, I dedicate occasional whole days to reading as if I’m a convalescent. The ideal place for this is the bath, where the body floats free," Rachel Kushner told The New York Times in a "By the Book" interview. Yet just because her reading style is leisurely doesn't mean her reading is; she discusses her love of Proust and avoidance of books known for their plots. For more Kushner, read our own interview with her or her 2013 Year in Reading post.
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska's prairies played in Willa Cather's writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. "From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. "
Great news for food lovers and over-thinkers everywhere: Gastronomica, the James Beard Award winning journal that takes a highminded approach to food and taste, recently began publishing writing online. Start with this lovely long article on the competition between Chinese and French black truffles. Or with a slightly cheeky revision of Pierre Bourdieu’s food space, if that's more your, um, cup of tea.