Recommended Reading: Bret Anthony Johnston on (not) writing what you know. His essay is an excerpt of Writer's Notebook II, published by the folks at Tin House. (Related: we published Harper's editor Christopher Beha's essay in the book last year.)
"The female writers whose work has most recently come in for enthusiastic appraisal are by no means a homogeneous group; their influences, preoccupations and style vary wildly." The Guardian profiles six women authors – Beryl Bainbridge, Anita Brookner, Angela Carter, Jenny Diski, Elizabeth Jane Howard, and Molly Keane – whose posthumous legacies continue to grow. Alix Hawley wrote a fantastic tribute to Brookner here earlier this year, noting, "[n]obody does depression quite so elegantly."
If news of László Krasznahorkai winning his second straight Best Translated Book Award for his recent novella, Seiobo There Below, got you interested in reading the Hungarian author’s works, then look no further. Scott Esposito offers a handy road map entitled “Krasznahorkai: A Guide for the Perplexed and Fascinated.”
Charles Yu's new collection of stories, Sorry Please Thank You, is out today, and so is Tana French's novel Broken Harbor. Both were on our Great Second Half of 2012 Books Preview. Leigh Stein's new book of poems, Dispatch from the Future is also in stores today, alongside Ali Smith's There But For The in paperback.
George Dobbs explores the history of some common cliches for The Airship and makes an elegant argument for being aware of overused phrasing: "The worst fiction might never go beyond widely used tropes, but the best fiction starts with an awareness of them." We agree, and also hope never to read "It was a dark and stormy night..." again.
Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal’s column for The New York Times debuted last week with her reflections on the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. As she puts it, "He is a spider of a writer: subtle and sly, patient, with invisible designs. He never proclaims — he never needs to. He envelops." Pair with John Yargo’s Millions essay on Hrabal’s fiction.
In order to prolong the conversation around his Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates recently took to Twitter to engage in a Q&A session with his readers. You can scroll through the entire exchange over here. Coates was also interviewed by Ezra Klein for Vox this week, and the resulting video is probably the most valuable piece of content that site has produced since its inception.