OK, so you’ve read our article about why you should respect J.D. Salinger’s wishes by not reading his unpublished stories, but you’ve also noticed that nobody’s really said anything about his stories that are out-of-print.
How do you know when you’re finished writing a novel? Electric Literature’s advice column, The Blunt Instrument, tackles the timeless questions of how to begin and when to end. If it’s endings you’re after, this piece from The Millions on writers and last lines will help give you some closure.
"It’s a critical dilemma in my reading and writing but also a real-life dilemma in a family like mine, with Alzheimer’s in our genes: How do you locate the personhood in someone who is, for neurobiological reasons, no longer the person you knew? Is there a way to be true to medical fact and still find something that is transcendently human?" Stefan Merrill Block writes about the literature of Alzheimer's and Matthew Thomas's We Are Not Ourselves, which Lisa Peet reviewed for The Millions.
"Fantasy is a tool of the storyteller. It is a way of talking about things that are not, and cannot be, literally true. It is a way of making our metaphors concrete, and it shades into myth in one direction, allegory in another." Neil Gaiman reviews Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant for the New York Times Book Review and considers the power, and risks, of fantasy. Pair with Ishiguro's talk with The Telegraph about the 10 years since the publication of Never Let Me Go.
Recommended Reading: Louise Erdrich's new short story in The New Yorker, "The Big Cat," which is about snoring among other things. "The women in my wife’s family all snored, and when we visited for the holidays every winter I got no sleep." Deborah Treisman also interviewed Erdrich about the story. "I like the idea that this story reads like a fairy tale, but there is no moral at all, unless it’s Beware of Snoring Cats. Nothing I write ever has a moral."
As part of World Book Night, a UK event designed to bring attention to books for adult readers, a number of famous authors have chosen books that they would recommend to readers. Stephen King's selection was Hash Kestin's small press effort The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats. Published by upstart Dzanc Books in the U.S. in 2009, the jolt of publicity generated by the King selection means the book will now be coming out in the UK as well. Our own Emily Mandel wrote a review of the book in 2010, calling it "a gritty enchantment"