“That to me was the rub. A writer freed from the need to calibrate with reality, or even be internally consistent, could put a washing machine into the sky along with a rainbow. So why not put a rhinoceros up there too?” On negative literary influences.
If you were like this writer when you were growing up, you knew -- nay, believed -- that Sonic the Hedgehog was better than Mario, full stop. At The Verge, Trent Volbe explains the Blue Blur’s greatness, including a sample from the Green Hill Zone soundtrack to illustrate the games’ sick bass grooves.
New Directions has just released The Complete Stories of Brazilian legend Clarice Lispector, newly translated by Katrina Dodson and edited by Benjamin Moser. There are eight stories in the collection that had never before appeared in English: "Covert Joy," "Remnants of Carnival," "Brasília," "Beauty and the Beast or The Big Wound, "One Day Less" (one of the two final stories left in manuscript at Lispector's death), "Gertrudes Asks for Advice," "Another Couple of Drunks," and "The Escape." Check out Magdalena Edwards's Millions review of the collection.
Newly minted Paris Review editor (and polymorphous enthusiast) Lorin Stein runs down some recent pleasures for More Intelligent Life. To wit: Lipsyte, Dickens, Du Maurier, Nádas, Merle Haggard, newcomer April Ayers Lawson, the Lydia Davis Proust, outer-borough maniacs, and "proletarian erotica"...not necessarily in that order.
“The art style also changes from chapter to chapter — some panels fill the pages to the edges and are overwhelming in their dark palette; some seem ordinary in proportion, confident; others fill the space around small figures with words, words, words; and others still have a minimalist, sketch-like quality and barely occupy the page at all — and they aren’t always chapters, or even stories, in the traditional sense.” On MariNaomi’s Dragon’s Breath and Other Stories.
Nemesis, the latest from Philip Roth is now out. Other new fiction this week includes Nicole Krauss' Great House and Myla Goldberg's The False Friend. In non-fiction, Steven Johnson takes on a thought-provoking topic with Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Also new are Ron Chernow's massive biography of George Washington and a new book from Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.