At Page-Turner, Willing Davidson interviews Karen Russell, the newly minted MacArthur Genius, Swamplandia! author and 20 Under 40 alum. The conclusion this writer came to after reading their back-and-forth? The phrases “luck lightning” and “King Doomsday” need to be used more often. (FYI, we published our own interview with Russell back in February.)
“The last line of Saul Bellow’s ‘A Single Dish’ is nothing like poetry. I can’t tell you what any single one of those words means. Imagine you’re a lexicographer and you have to define the word that, or how. And on top of this, there’s none of Bellow’s typical play with rhythm and language—it’s almost a non-sentence. And yet, when I get to it in the story, I weep.” Ethan Canin at The Atlantic on how Saul Bellow packs so much emotion into a single sentence. Here are a couple Bellow-related Millions links for your perusing pleasure.
And now, a little bit about a world you might be totally unfamiliar with; this piece from The Rumpus is a fascinating, in-depth look at identity politics and eating pork in the Chinese borderlands. Bonus: a complementary piece about what it’s like to be a Chinese-American writer living in china.
Curious what the Obamas will be reading over Christmas? The Scrutinizer in Chief stopped by Upshur Books in Washington, D.C. on Small Business Saturday to selected a nice little haul for the winter break with titles ranging from Jonathan Franzen’s Purity to Rachel Renée Russell’s Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life.
Forget “Gangnam Style.” The next Korean musical craze should involve the sijo (pronounced “shee-jo”), a type of poem dating back to the 1300s, and, “up until the 20th century … was mostly composed and sung, not written and published.” You can listen to a performance of Yi Cho’nyön’s “Moonlight Pear Blossoms” over here.