Edwidge Danticat gives us one of the best definitions of the short story in an interview with Kima Jones at The Rumpus. “The short story is like an exquisite painting and you might, when looking at this painting, be wondering what came before or after, but you are fully absorbed in what you’re seeing.” They also discuss Danticat’s novel Claire of the Sea Light, Haitian and Dominican relations, and giving yourself permission to tell the truth. To find out what Danticat has been reading, see her 2013 Year in Reading.
Coming in 2012: Pop-Hop Books & Curio. Located in the Highland Park neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles, Pop-Hop will be “a creative retail environment merging a bookstore and project space.” More information, as well as some opportunities to support the project, are available at the shop’s Kickstarter page, and also on its Facebook page.
Out this week: The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt; The Epiphany Machine by David Burr Gerrard; Like A Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina; Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne; The Dog’s Last Walk by Howard Jacobson; and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. For more on these and other new titles, go read our just-published book preview.
Yet another open archive for your summer reading enjoyment: the Baffler (“the Journal that Blunts the Cutting Edge”), as part of a website redesign, has made available its entire back catalog of commentary and fiction. Might I suggest starting with this now-charmingly-antiquated piece on marketing to the youthful “hipster” generation? (The Paris Review has other suggestions. It’s hard to go wrong.)
Writing about a foreign country is always a dodgy proposition, but it seems to be especially thorny when English people and Americans take on their transatlantic brethren. Looking over two contributions to the genre by English writers — Terry Eagleton’s Across the Pond and A.A. Gill’s To America With Love — Carlin Romano concludes that neither manages to “teach us something new about ourselves.”
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.
Over at The Washington Post, Jeff Guo makes a case against periods. As he puts it, “When we get excited, the pauses between our sentences shrink. We speak in run-ons. […] A period feels too weighty.” Also check out this Millions piece on the benefits of excising quotation marks.