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.
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the “bleak precise nature” of Philip Larkin‘s poetry (what Stephen Akey called “The Poetry of Mental Unhealth” in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. “In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack.”
Google has added a Worldcat search to Google Books, allowing readers to look for books in their local libraries as well as on online bookstore sites. (via)From the Department of Clever Book Promotions: Random House is using a text-based (or interactive fiction) game to promote the release of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist.Steven Johnson’s forthcoming book The Ghost Map, “a thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London,” sounds pretty terrific. To whet the appetite, he provides a brief list of the “best” plague books to the Wall Street Journal. (via).Just in time for Banned Books Week, check out some very cool banned books jewelry.
“His books used to be ink on paper; now we have to squint through the cloud of the Ellroy Phenomenon.” And the James Ellroy Phenomenon looks like it will only continue: the author has announced plans for a second L.A. Quartet, the first of which, Perfidia, comes out next week.