Following the Irish release of The Guts, the new Roddy Doyle novel that brings back Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments, The Irish Times interviews Doyle, who remembers a time when his writing garnered him death threats. Sample quote: “I drove the guy in the next room demented as I replayed an old tape, repeating the same musical phrase, again and again.”
Out this week: The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya; Hotels of North America by Rick Moody; A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham; Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker; and Rules for a Knight by the actor Ethan Hawke. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
James Baldwin couldn’t be more relevant, but he is fading from America’s high school classrooms. His controversial writing, censorship, poor student reading habits, and absence from the Common Core are all to blame for the lack of Baldwin in the curriculum. Pair with: Our essay on why Baldwin’s work still resonates.
“The blackly comic energy of Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts—its caustic ebullience, the strange buoyancy of its suffering—is a remarkably American achievement, a kind of death-dance capered on the corpse of a vividly rendered early 1930s Manhattan.” On Miss Lonelyhearts, the darkest American masterpiece.
“Goodreads lets me capture and disperse impressions that occur as I read. I tend to track the sounds I make when reading, the chortles, gasps, growls, and LOLs. I try to figure out why I might not have liked aspects of a book, looking under the hood in a workshoppy way…” Lee Klein offers a defense of Goodreads and good criticism over at Full Stop.
What’s the one question you should never ask a writer starting a new book: how’s the writing going? “Nothing can damage a novel in embryo as quickly and effectively as trying to describe it before it’s ready,” Mark Slouka writes. Follow his advice for how to keep your writer friends.
This week in book-related infographics: Waterstones has put together an illustrated formula for the ultimate bestseller, “a thriller tale of crime, bondage and wizardry.”