Add this to the roster of great literary takedowns. Apparently Evelyn Waugh once wrote the following about Proust: “Nobody told me he was a mental defective. He had no sense of time.” (This stands in stark contrast with the views of Aleksandar Hemon, who wrote in a recent Year in Reading piece that Swann’s Way is “one of those miraculous books that gets better with every re-reading.”)
Looking for a way to spice up your short story? Add a ghost. “This is going to sound strange, but what your story really needs is a ghost,” Lorrie Moore said in an interview with The New York Times. She discussed her new professorship at Vanderbilt and her new short story collection, Bark, which, yes, does contain a ghost story.
New this week: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue; Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vásquez; The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride; American Prophets by Albert J. Raboteau; Odes by Sharon Olds; and The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
Stephen King’s next book is a thriller set in a Midwestern town suffering from unemployment. Before this sounds a little too close to home, the synopsis reveals it’s about a retired cop trying to stop a mass murderer. Mr. Mercedes will be out June 3rd. Pair with: Our own Lydia Kiesling’s essay on her love of King novels.
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
David J. Peterson is the man responsible for creating the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for the television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Peterson, who took Martin’s 55 Dothraki names and created a 4,000 word vocabulary, is interviewed over at Flavorwire. If the Dothraki don’t have a word for it, the Germans probably do. Here’s an essay from The Millions on just that.