When The Beatles made Rubber Soul, the band probably didn’t realize it would inspire some of the greatest contemporary fiction. First, Haruki Murakami named his novel Norwegian Wood. Now, “Drive My Car” inspired his new short story. Bungeishunju published the story today, but English readers are still waiting on the translation. Until then, we can always listen to the album. Pair with: Our essay on the soundtracks behind books.
The fiftieth anniversary of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is coming up on October 13th, so to get ready, pour yourself a drink (or five), don your best academic tweeds, and read these interviews with playwright Edward Albee and audience members who attended the play’s original 1962 run.
Sometimes, in a narrative, it’s necessary to focus on one scene, in one place, for as long as one possibly can. In his new graphic novel, Here, Richard McGuire takes this to an extreme, setting the entirety of the story in one corner of a character’s living room. In the Times, Dwight Garner reviews the new book.
Victor Hugo, when asked about the other parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy that aren’t the widely-read Inferno, had this to say: “The human eye was not made to look upon so much light, and when the poem becomes happy, it becomes boring.” Ouch. Is this why so many of us haven’t even read Dante, despite his being a kind of cultural icon?
Word came out yesterday that Jonathan Galassi and Year in Reading alum Mona Simpson will join the Paris Review editorial board. Former editors both — Galassi edited the magazine’s poetry, while Simpson edited its fiction — the two will join Rose Styron, Jeffrey Eugenides and other notable figures on the board. Simpson also has a new novel coming out in April.
Need some inspiration? These quotes from Joan Didion are sure to make your day. Picked by noted Ayn Rand scholar Mallory Ortberg, they include such gems as “I’m from Sacramento, but it’s honestly not a big deal” and “California doesn’t remind me of the apocalypse at all.”