Lorrie Moore once said in an interview that what’s good for writing is bad for life. In this vein, we might assume that coffee, which is bad for your health but good for your writing, neatly supports her conjecture. But what if it turns out that coffee is a detriment to creativity? Maria Konnikova investigates research that suggests this might be the case.
By now the overlap between writers and drug addicts is pretty well-known, but it wasn’t so well-known back when Thomas De Quincey wrote Confessions of an English Opium Eater. In the essay, De Quincey admitted that not only was he addicted to opium, he suspected he’d ingested more of the substance than any other man save Coleridge. (Incidentally, we reviewed a novel by Year in Reading alumnus Jeet Thayil that largely took place in an opium den.)
Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is now out in the U.S. Also new this week are John D’Agata’s much-discussed Lifespan of a Fact, Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians, Ellen Ullman’s By Blood and The Boiling Season by Christopher Hebert, who has an essay up on our site today. The new memoir by Anthony Shadid has seen its release date pushed up to this week. See our remembrance of Shadid. Finally, it’s Christmas for baseball fans: the 2012 Baseball Prospectus is out.
Here’s a piece of news you likely didn’t see coming: David Duchovny has published a novel. Titled Holy Cow, it deals, in the words of interviewer Taffy Brodesser-Akner, with “a traumatized cow, a sassy turkey and a pig converting to Judaism.” She talks with the X-Files star in this week’s Times Magazine.
“History is littered with poets… who set up their own presses to publish their work, because it was so different from the normal forms of the time. Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard are one example- they started their own press called the Hogarth Press (it is still going today) to publish collections of their work.” Self-publishing is something we’ve written about many times before, but Sarah Gonnet raises a good point – self-publishing isn’t truly a new phenomenon, and it does allow for a great deal of creative freedom.
According to a report for The Wall Street Journal (paywall), Barnes & Noble will be lessening its floor space allotted to traditional books in order to make way for more Nook displays. Over at Melville House’s blog, MobyLives, publisher Dennis Johnson speculates that this move could signify the end of the road for Barnes & Noble as a bookseller.
This week sees the release of Edward St. Aubyn’s final “Patrick Melrose novel,” At Last. A new, omnibus edition of all the novels in the series is also out. Steve Erickson’s new novel These Dreams of You is out, as is The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a debut effort set in Burma by German novelist Jan-Philipp Sendker. This week also sees the release, on Blu-ray, of the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird.