“Unable to replicate the success of his first novel [The Loom of Youth],” writes Philip Quarles, “[Alec Waugh] did create a lasting impact by being credited with inventing the cocktail party when he shocked guests by serving, instead of afternoon tea, rum swizzles.”
Sometimes, Virginia Woolf took a break from her busy schedule of constant brilliance in order to write children's stories for her nephews' newspaper, The Charleston Bulletin. A taste: "When in a good and merry mood Trisy would seize a dozen eggs, and a bucket of flour, coerce a cow to milk itself, and then mixing the ingredients toss them 20 times high up over the skyline, and catch them as they fell in dozens and dozens and dozens of pancakes."
Recommended Reading: Jenny Diski on our lost words. “So I had a thought about writing a book for the elderly, the old. Those who have lost their words more comprehensively than the friends around our lunch table, but haven’t lost themselves entirely. A book about where all the words go, where after a time they find the others and collaborate to make sentences.”
Always pushing the envelope in terms of how we think about books, Reif Larsen has just announced an iPad app for his novel The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet. As the demo video suggests, this something with much more depth and interaction than just a simple port from print to digital.
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
Last week, Erin Fortenberry reviewed Walter Kirn’s Blood Will Out for The Millions, writing that the events in the book were partly centered on Kirn himself. Now, in the Times, Janet Maslin reads the book, which struck her as “primarily a tale of seduction.”
"The Dares. We’d been at them all summer: making each other do stuff, alone or together, just for the fun of it. Girls like us, with high GPAs and not a single boy looking our way, needed a little danger to get us through the summer." Our own Edan Lepucki has a short story, "Ambulance of Boys," on Storychord.com.