Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
Don’t Cry author Mary Gaitskill reviews Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful thriller, Gone Girl, for the pages of Bookforum. What she finds is that the book isn’t really frightening because of its plot per se, but rather because its two main characters “do not resemble actual people so much as grotesquely smiling masks driven by forces of extreme artifice, and it’s exactly that extreme artificial quality that’s frightening to the point of sickening.” For what it’s worth, Edan Lepucki, Michael Bourne, Ed Park, Janet Potter, and Jennifer duBois each named Flynn’s book in their most recent Year in Reading pieces.
“Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.
People like to think that the more books they read, the better people they’ll become. But is that really true? The answer’s unclear. But one thing does seem apparent: reading more books might make you better at bullying people.
Remember a few weeks ago when Paul Bogaards was kind enough to list us onto his Hierarchy of Book Publishing: The Top 100? We were entry no. 67, not nearly so powerful in the book publishing world as the original publisher of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, Amy Einhorn; her hair was entry no. 4. Though we were deemed slightly better than New Jersey, which was listed at no. 68. We even posted a curiosity about it. Well, the New York Observer’s got a follow up piece on the joke, and is calling the original Tumblr post a flame out. Bogaards takes a different tack, saying that his Twitter and Tumblr streams are “a curation of industry anxiety. Interspersed with humor. And cocktails.”
“’When I finish reading one of her stories, I always feel understood and somehow forgiven for being human,’ Mr. George said. ‘It may simply come down to wisdom. Like the greats, Edith has it.'” Steve Almond gives an overview of Edith Pearlman‘s writing and publication history for The New York Times Book Review in the wake of the release of her latest collection, Honeydew, which Josh Cook recently reviewed for The Millions.