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.
At the Southern Review of Books, Justin Evans reflects on Breece D’J Pancake‘s celebrated collection of short stories from 1984, published five years after his death. “The stories of Breece D’J Pancake, by their own merit, are remarkably tied to the rural home of their author,” Evans writes. “Unfortunately, they are also tied to the author’s absence. Honestly, it’s tempting to romanticize this collection of fiction. I still have a copy of the 2002 edition that I stayed up all night reading sometime around 6 years ago. There was something about the scale of history and place against the scale of the individual, about the mix of gravity and triviality in grief that I found energizing at a time when most of my day went to physical labor.”
Last week, I pointed readers to a Page-Turner essay by Amy Bloom, whose new novel, Lucky Us, came out on Tuesday. Now, as part of the By the Book series in the Times, she talks about her summertime reads, her first picture book and who she’d invite to a literary dinner party. (FYI, we’ve written about the series before.)
StoryBundle, a new service that lets you pay as much (or as little) as you want for preselected bundles of ebooks, announced on Wednesday that their latest bundle is a collection of writing about video games. Among other things, it includes two books by Jordan Mechner, the man behind Prince of Persia, as well as two issues of Kill Screen.
There’s a scandal gaining traction in the UK, and it involves sending books through the mail. The country’s justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is standing by a new law that bans inmates from receiving parcels of books. According to him, the law is intended to make inmates “earn [their] privileges.” (h/t Page-Turner)
St. Patrick’s Day is over but there’s always cause to celebrate Irish storytellers. (Plus March is Irish-American History Month!) In this video from Open Road Media, you can listen to Edna O’Brien, Joseph Caldwell, Ken Bruen and T.J. English discuss the components of Irish storytelling that make for such good craic. Also you can check out the Poetry Foundation’s collection of St. Patrick’s Day poems for additional (belated) Irish writing.