How do you pronounce the name of the titular character from Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot? Is it GOD-oh or is it god-OH? Or is it a third variant altogether? While investigating the question for The New York Times, Dave Itzkoff has found that there may not be a correct answer, after all.
Five finalists have been named for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: Daniel Alarcón’s At Night We Walk in Circles, Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, (Year in Reading alum) Joan Silber’s Fools, and Valerie Trueblood’s Search Party: Stories of Rescue. One winner will be selected on April 2, 2014, and a celebratory dinner will be held in its honor on May 10. You can read up on all of the finalists over here.
Anyone who’s majored in the humanities has likely heard warnings that it's better to major in the sciences. If, as many would have it, we live in a scientist’s world, what place is there for the arts? At the Ploughshares blog, Cathe Shubert finds a place for writers in a STEM-obsessed society. You could also read Cathy Day on the job prospects of writers.
Flip through the blurbs on a recently published novel and you’re likely to come across a ton of stock phrases. Gary Shteyngart parodied this repetition -- as well as other facets of the blurb-industrial complex -- in a bit of improv last year. At The Morning News, Christine Gosnay writes about a poem that gave her a genuinely new reaction: the sense that she was "more than one person.”
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.