Charles Baxter doesn’t believe in writing routines, but he does have some odd superstitions. “I don’t like to spill salt. I throw it over my left shoulder. But if I spill salt in the morning, my day is fucked,” he told The Daily Beast.
In The New York Times Magazine, Heather Havrilesky cautions against “The Divorce Delusion,” or one of modern drama’s most unrealistic tropes. “Infidelity, a love child (or two), dalliances with prostitutes, lewd online behavior; we’ve watched so many spouses bounce back from hell,” she writes, “that maybe we’re beginning to believe that there’s no trauma so great that it can’t be quickly metabolized into a courageous determination to sally forth against the storm.”
In a 6,000 word essay for The Point, founding editor Jon Baskin wades into the personal and professional psychodrama of the Franzen–Wallace friendship. Beneath the public surface, finds deep questions about the “novel of the self,” the “novel of society,” and the life worth living.
“In re-organizing the priorities of book publishing—by inventing new models rather than trying to repeat past success, by valuing ingenuity over magnitude, by thinking of sales as a way to make great books possible rather than the point—indie presses aren’t just becoming the places where the best books are published; they’re already there.” Over at The Atlantic, Nathan Scott McNamara writes on why American publishing needs indie presses. For more of his writing, check out his essay on Denis Johnson for The Millions.
There’s been an incredible amount of both excitement and controversy ever since Harper Lee‘s publisher announced the upcoming publication of Go Set a Watchman, the reclusive author’s second novel. But in a piece for Ploughshares Cathe Shubert wonders “Why not marvel at what all this hullabaloo in the news really signifies: that books still matter, deeply, to the American public–especially books that spark dialogue about interracial relations, justice, and, as Atticus would say, walking in another person’s shoes.”