“A very proper letter (‘scrutinized and corrected by the magazine’s fact checkers and proofreaders,’ wrote the Times) was sent to [Robert] Gottlieb, beseeching him to decline the [New Yorker] job,” writes Elon Green in his overview of Gottlieb’s brief stint as the magazine’s editor. How would you feel if Donald Barthelme, Deborah Eisenberg, Ian Frazier, Jamaica Kincaid, Janet Malcolm, J.D. Salinger, and 148 others all told you, “don’t come” to your new job?
Another packed line-up: New this week is Stephen King’s 11/22/63, Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetary, Ingo Schulze’s, and Adam and Evelyn (all three of which were previewed by us). We also have new biographies of Kurt Vonnegut and Catherine the Great. And new in paperback, sometime Millions contributor Matthew Gallaway’s The Metropolis Case.
Jonathan Lee, whose novel High Dive was published this week, writes about the “deep disquiet” of finishing your book. “There are lots of books on how to write, and lots of books on how to publish, but I’ve spent the last few weeks looking for a book with a title like How To Get Through The Period Between Finishing A Book and Seeing It In A Bookstore Without Losing Your Entire Grip on Reality. I have failed to find it.”
The Millions is thrilled to welcome a new staff writer, Ismail Muhammad, whose first piece for the site publishes today. (You may have seen Ismail’s work at Zyzzyva and the Los Angeles Review of Books previously.) He splits his time between Los Angeles and Oakland, where he’s currently working on a dissertation and a novel. Find him on Twitter @trapmotives and Instagram @trapmotifs.
Recommended Reading: Jen Calleja offers a reading list to soothe your Brexit blues at The Quietus. “Like many people, I went through the five stages of Brexit – ‘oh well’, manic laughter, crying, rage, existential despair – in one day, and in the days that followed felt numb, nauseous, in doubt. But now it’s time to climb out of the mourning pit and work even harder than before at holding on to a European identity and keeping channels open to personal and literary dialogues with our European neighbours.”
“What I didn’t know then was that these decorations evolved from the Jewish menora, the Hebrew festival of lights. I don’t think my mother knew that either, but if she did she never mentioned it. And I certainly never contemplated the resemblance of a sleigh to a cradle. A sleigh is basically a very large cradle.” Mary Ruefle on Christmas trees.