New! This! Week! Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers by Janet Malcolm, Red Moon by Benjamin Percy, Pacific by Tom Drury, Love Is Power, or Something Like That by A. Igoni Barrett (read his piece at The Millions), and Dossier K, a memoir from Novel winner Imre Kertész.
Over at Catapult, Lynn Steger Strong writes on writing a novel that readers will read. As she puts it, “I was trying to explore the specific experience of living in the world while also living largely, sometimes to one’s own detriment, inside of books, inside one’s head.” Also check out this Millions piece, featuring six writers looking back on their first novels.
Learn more about Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Cao Wenxuan. “China has given us so many heartbreaking stories. How can you avoid writing about them? I can’t sacrifice my life experience in order to make children happy.” Pair with Edan Lepucki’s piece on the grown-up counterparts to children’s stories.
Graduation season is upon us, and college students across the nation are listening to esteemed commencement speakers. Some get treated to the likes of Bill Watterson, Jon Stewart, or Barbara Kingsolver. (I got to listen to The Rock.) In the thrill of the moment, it feels like it hardly matters who’s at the podium. One wonders if audiences really grasp the material in these speeches right away, or if the speaker’s words only become clear later on. Inspired by David Foster Wallace’s iconic Kenyon address in 2005, our own Kevin Hartnett tried to find out.
“These are terrific diversions, but their status next to the book is a little ambiguous. Isn’t using animation to advertise a book a little like using sculpture to promote poetry?” asks Lindesay Irvine in this article about book trailers in The Guardian. If you’re looking for a diversion, this video short based on César Aira‘s Ghosts is certainly worth watching.