Sometimes things get a little kinky at Rock Bottom Remainders shows, the little known rock band with some big members including Amy Tan, Stephen King, and Dave Barry. Tan’s signature song is “These Boots are Made for Walking.” “For ‘Boots’ I’m especially gifted. I wield a whip and at the end of the song, I tell the boys to bend over,” she told The Daily Beast for a “How I Write” interview.
"In order to overcome their creative challenges, the authors I interviewed didn’t need to write prettier sentences: They needed to become more disciplined, more generous, braver. Literature seems to require these qualities of us, somehow, both in writing and in reading." Joe Fassler's "By Heart" series at The Atlantic provides us with another year's worth of writing wisdom, including advice from Alexander Chee, Michael Chabon, Lydia Millet, et al. We also highly recommend the conversation between Chee, Emily Barton, and Whitney Terrell about the decade each of them took to see their novels realized in the world.
To add to the awards lists, Believer has announced its editors' shortlist for the Believer Book Award, which looks to acknowledge "the strongest and most underappreciated" novels of the year. The shortlist includes Danielle Dutton's Sprawl; Kira Henehan's Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles (reviewed for The Millions); James Hynes' Next, Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps (reviewed for The Millions); and Paul Murray's Skippy Dies (reviewed here).
John Jeremiah Sullivan is working on abandoning the "slightly exaggerated pastiche of himself as narrator" that's driven most of his essays so far.