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.
If you’re anything like me, you’re likely to be intrigued by a series with the title Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food. If you’re a lot like me, to the point where it may be a cause for concern, you’ll be doubly intrigued by the prospect of Charles Yu paying a visit to Buffalo Wild Wings. Sample quote: “I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the restaurant simultaneously managed to exceed, disappoint, and exactly meet these expectations.”
“The idea that novels could be dangerous seems largely have fallen by the wayside, which does raise the question of how today’s newer sources of entertainment and information will look to the critics of the future. In 50 years, maybe we’ll be lamenting our failure to read enough Internet.” Anna North writes about the distant time “When Novels Were Bad For You” for The New York Times.
“I suppose the truth is I became a little self-conscious about people telling me how much they loved my sentences,” says James Salter in his interview with Jonathan Lee. “It’s flattering, but it seemed to me that this love of sentences was in some sense getting in the way of the book itself.” As it happens, our own Sonya Chung reviewed Salter’s latest book this week, and she, too, remarked on Salter’s desire “to ‘get past the great writer-of-sentences thing,’ and presumably the ‘writers’ writer’ thing.”
As part of his research for his recent treatise on office life, Cubed, n + 1 editor Nikil Saval looked back on his own years in an open office. In an interview with Sara Scribner, he talks about his growing awareness that it wasn’t good for his health: “It was sociable in some good senses, but also mostly not a pleasant place to be.”