New this week: The Most of Nora Ephron; At Night We Walk in Circles by New Yorker 20 Under 40er Daniel Alarcón; S., a novel written by Doug Dorst in collaboration with J.J. Abrams (which naturally has a trailer); and The Gorgeous Nothings, a full-color facsimile of poems that Emily Dickinson drafted on the backs of envelopes. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
We have a lot of prizes that honor well-crafted first novels. But what about the second novel, which is far more likely to be ignored? Herewith, Dan Kois announces that Slate is teaming up with the Whiting Foundation to produce We Second That, a list of under-recognized second novels from the past five years. You could also read our own Bill Morris on the golden age of the second novel.
In case you were wondering why “old media” companies continue to cling to print: Based on ad revenue, a print reader is worth $709, while an online reader is worth just $46. (via)
Feeling a bit too happy lately? Want to be utterly bummed out? Then read through this assortment of depressing graphs, provided by Rebecca Makkai. They include graphs about MFAs, a bar graph about book clubs, and a pie chart expressing the probability that you are Alice Munro.
At Salon, Cornel Bonca reviews Roth Unbound, a new “hybrid” biography of Roth that New Yorker staff writer Claudia Roth Pierpont wrote after months of interviews. Although the book glosses over Roth’s personal flaws, it gives a great overview of his work, Bonca writes.
School hasn’t started back up yet, so if you’re looking for ways to entertain your kids until the end of Summer, I recommend perusing NPR’s round-up of “100 Must-Reads For Kids 9-14.” (Or, you know, tell them to just go outside already. And to be sure to shut the door to keep the air conditioning in.)
“For about 15 years, every time I had a really good dance party that went late, with people lolling around drunk and exhausted, at about 2 a.m., I would hand out paper and ask everyone to draw a vomiting cat. . . . I ended up with an incredibly thick file of drawings, some by people who went on to be published cartoonists and writers.” The New York Times reports that (Year in Reading alum) Jonathan Lethem has sold his papers to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, a trove that includes comic books, manuscript drafts, notes, letters, and yes, drawings of vomiting cats. You can read our review of Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, which may or may not feature hairballs in a crucial plot point, here.