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.
Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)
In case you missed it: JK Rowling just released a new Harry Potter short story on her own promotional website. Before you get too excited: the New Republic is less than sanguine, calling it “a marketing scam.” (Code for: not very good writing?) Which is not going to keep me from reading it anyway. Readers with more restraint might note that “You don’t have to be a Barthesian grad student to chafe at Rowling’s impulse to clarify the words on the page.” (Pair with our discussion of fan fiction and the afterlife of literature.)
“Being nominated for an award feels the way I imagine winning the lottery must feel: You’re deeply grateful and a little disoriented, you feel very lucky, and you know that it could just as easily have been someone else.” Our own Emily St. John Mandel writes about “the vast distance between literary prizes and literary work” and reading Norman Mailer for The Atlantic‘s By Heart series (which we’ve covered many, many times before).
Is Karl Ove Kanusgaard’s seven-volume, 3,600-page, vaugely-autobiographical epic possible to pitch over the course of an elevator ride? The good people over at n+1 are willing to give it a shot! Have you ever wondered about the view outside of Knausgaard’s window? I bet you have now.
“The rest of her speech to the U.N. that day is an exact outline for what she wanted the rest of the Parable books to be about — a way out that she did not live to write herself.” For Electric Literature, Kristopher Jansma explores the unwritten Parable books of acclaimed sci-fi author Octavia Butler. Pair with our consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.