“(The Great Gatsby) is often considered the greatest American novel of the 20th century—I waver on that sometimes but I love the beauty of its writing, its tabloid immediacy, the high body count, its modernistic touches, the relentless drama put into its novella-length form.” Bret Easton Ellis’s top ten favorite books doesn’t include many surprises, but it’s worth a look.
Matthew Stadler of Publication Studio hits NYC on his NAFTA tour just in time for the 4th of July weekend. The Saturday evening begins with a ghost tour of sorts, of the city’s “disappeared bookstores,” and a lavish Mexican dinner will follow. If the feasts in Stadler’s latest novel, Chloe Jarren’s La Cucaracha, are any indication, expect copious cocktails and intriguing conversations. More details here.
Jack Ryan really exists and even teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy. Vulture’s Dan Solomon met the real Jack Ryan and discussed what it’s like to have the same name as Tom Clancy’s hero. No, he has never used the connection as a pick-up line. Pair with: Our in memoriam of Clancy.
“Almost as soon as the concept of the Great American Novel was invented, in the nation-building years after the Civil War, Buell finds it being mocked, noting that one observer dryly put it into the same category as ‘other great American things such as the great American sewing-machine, the great American public school, and the great American sleeping-car.’ It was enough of a cliché by 1880 for Henry James to refer to it with the acronym ‘GAN,’ which Buell employs throughout his book.” On the reigning gold standard for quality in American fiction. (Related: we asked nine experts their picks for the best American novel.)
Jacob Silverman reviews two new novels – Note to Self and The More You Ignore Me – that “take on one incarnation of the Internet: the Internet as pathology” but ultimately fail to succeed “in exploring or critiquing digital life with any authority.” He notes that “like any technology, [the Internet] has to be shaped for the purposes of literature.”
Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series will be adapted into a five-part Showtime series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. A few years back on our site, Ben Hamilton wrote, “the pleasures of reading Edward St Aubyn’s Melrose novels can feel strangely illicit.”