New this week: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride; Night Film by Marisha Pessl; The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer; The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally; and Holy Orders, a new Quirke novel by John Banville/Benjamin Black. For more on these and other upcoming releases, check out our Great 2013 Second-Half Book Preview.
During the Cold War, the CIA became entrenched in cultural life through an organization named, ironically enough, the Congress for Cultural Freedom. In order to fight communism, they funded socialist artists. The Awl has compiled a list of literary journals, including the Kenyon Review and The Paris Review, that were once supported by the CIA.
Those who watch the book deal emails from Publishers Lunch know that Chad Harbach, an editor at n+1, recently sold his first novel, The Art of Fielding, but a Bloomberg article today reveals it went for an eye-popping $650,000. The book centers around baseball at a fictional Wisconsin college, and Bloomberg pegs the deal as “one of the highest prices for a man’s first novel on a topic appealing to a male audience.” Possible buried lede: n+1 compatriots Benjamin Kunkel and Keith Gessen saw their first novels sell 48,000 and 7,000 copies respectively, according to Neilsen BookScan.
“It’s true that when the world did not end when I predicted it would, at the end of last year, in my Netflix special Ragnarok, I realized a number of things, one of which was that I had not made a lot of professional or creative plans on the contingency that the world would continue. I just figured that it would end.” Greg Hunter talks with John Hodgman at The Rumpus.
Electric Literature has a fantastic interview with “viral poet” Patricia Lockwood, author of “Rape Joke,” new book Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, and this prophecy: “We’re going to have something in the future that is so much more revealing than tit pics, and we don’t even know what it is yet.” Pair with: today’s new Millions piece on publishers’ struggle to turn the love of poetry into poetry sales.
Millions contributor Magdalena Edwards just published a piece on Norman Rush in The LA Review of Books. It includes the first published excerpt from his forthcoming novel Subtle Bodies, which will be released in 2013. Additionally, Rush will read in a rare appearance at the Hammer Museum in Westwood tomorrow.