The story of how a publishing house began is the definition of literary inside baseball, but this piece by Jonathan Galassi — in which the FSG president responds to an upcoming book on the heyday of his company — does a pretty nice job of spurring a general reader’s interest. Among other things, it reveals that First Wife Dorothea Straus once called the company’s office “a sexual sewer.”
"I live a life of appetite and, yes, that’s right, / I live a life of privilege in New York, / Eating buttered toast in bed with cunty fingers on Sunday morning. / Say that again? / I have a rule— / I never give to beggars in the street who hold their hands out." Frederick Siedel's brusqueness makes many readers uncomfortable, yet many others revere him for his "brave cunning." Whichever side of the fence you fall on, this is an interesting take from Don Chiasson at The New Yorker.
A new Margaret Atwood novel is out this week, as is a new book by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee. Also out: The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell, At the Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick and Duplex by Kathryn Davis. For more on these and other upcoming releases, check out our Great 2013 Second-Half Book Preview.
Over at The Atlantic, Terrence Rafferty claims that women are writing the best crime novels. “Their books are light on gunplay, heavy on emotional violence. Murder is de rigueur in the genre, so people die at the hands of others—lovers, neighbors, obsessive strangers—but the body counts tend to be on the low side,” he writes. Pair with this Millions piece on novels where women are true detectives.
"Macbeth has a twist that sets it apart from every other Shakespearean tragedy: Macbeth murders his voice. Mad with fear that Banquo’s heirs will seize the throne, Macbeth has Banquo killed. After that, our antihero is on his own. There is no one left to verify what is real and what is not ... When Macbeth’s voice dies, everything else disappears, too. Macbeth is alone." This excerpt from Jillian Keenan's Sex With Shakespeare touches on everything from sexuality in Singapore to The O.C. fan-fiction.