We’ve traced how Stoner became a bestseller in Europe, but I took a closer look at where the book started, The University of Missouri, for Vox Magazine. As it turns out, John Williams found inspiration in some real faculty rivalries.
The National Book Foundation announced this year’s “5 Under 35” authors. Three cheers for Jennifer duBois (A Partial History of Lost Causes), Stuart Nadler (The Book of Life), Haley Tanner (Vaclav & Lena), Justin Torres (We the Animals), and Claire Vaye Watkins (Battleborn, which we recently reviewed)!
Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”
In 2013, poet and bookseller Alan Brandsted approached Seattle’s Wave Books with an interesting proposal: in exchange for a box of galleys and gas money, he would embark on a cross-country mission to “spread the good word of poetry to independent bookstores.” What followed is the ongoing Indie Bookstore Tour, which is being chronicled on Tumblr (hashtag “#wavepoetrytour”) and Instagram. (First Tumblr post can be found here.)
A couple months ago, Melville House published a biography of Roberto Bolaño, constructed from interviews the author gave throughout his life. At Full-Stop, Andrew Mitchell Davenport reads the biography, suggesting that the preponderance of myths about the author “makes elucidating Bolaño’s biography a moral issue.” Pair with: our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s Bolaño syllabus.
“Perhaps this is why King favors prose—many of his novels and stories confront terror so enormous it transcends poetic language.” In Poetry Foundation, an essay about Stephen King‘s little known literary habit: writing poetry. Pair with: our editor Lydia Kiesling on discovering America through King’s novels.