Chances are you’ve heard that in a recent interview, Claire Messud responded to a patronizing question about one of her characters — “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you?” — by giving her interviewer a smackdown that resonated across the blogosphere. At Page-Turner, several authors (including Rivka Galchen, Jonathan Franzen and Year in Reading alumna Margaret Atwood) offer their own takes on the matter of “likeability.” (There’s also this piece by our own Emily St. John Mandel to consider.)
The 2014 Guggenheim Fellows were announced this week, and this year’s batch of honorees (PDF) includes ten poets, seven writers of fiction, and ten writers of “general nonfiction.” Among the names on the list, Millions readers will be thrilled to see Year In Reading contributors Hari Kunzru, Julie Orringer, Meaghan O’Rourke, and Susan Orlean, as well as a number of writers who had work mentioned in other peoples’ YIR posts: Adrian Matejka, Patricia Smith, Victoria Redel, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
As libraries struggle to survive in the UK, community-based lending libraries are sprouting up to fill in the gaps. The Society of Authors is threatening to take legal action against these libraries after discovering that they are not required to pay any royalties to authors.
This week, Football Book Club will be reading Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Millhauser’s Edwin Mullhouse, as well as posting essays about Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright, lamenting the awful truth about life without the NFL, and probably marveling at the insanity of L. Ron Hubbard.
“The more you take, the more you have to give back — the better the work has to be.” The New York Times features Year in Reading alum Rivka Galchen in dialogue with Anna Holmes (“You can’t always prove appropriation, but you usually know it when you see it”) on the distinction between artistic license and cultural theft. Pair with our review of Galchen's Little Labors.
"Soldiers eat beef teriyaki and chicken cavatelli M.R.E.s in a war zone where 'armored ruins' line the roads, 'charred corpses scattered in among the blasted metal'; and sniper fire and I.E.D. ambushes are a constant threat: 'the chaos out there, the crazy Arabic writing and abu-jabba jabber, the lawless traffic, the hidden danger and buzz and stray bullets and death looming from every overpass.'" Michiko Kakutani reviews Roy Scranton's War Porn for The New York Times. Here's an old review from The Millions that shares a bit of Scranton's lingering sentiment regarding the war.