British novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard has died at the age of 90. She was famous for The Cazalet Chronicles and her literary love affairs with Kingsley Amis (one of her three husbands), Cecil Day-Lewis, and Arthur Koestler. Despite that her writing career spanned 60 years, she admitted that she found writing frightening in a recent interview. “You’ve got to be pretty nervous about the challenge, the blank page – anything could be on it, it could be crap or it could be wonderful.”
Are people losing interest in fiction that “offers more questions than answers?” In her book Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley suggested that modern readers have little taste for uncertainty. At The Rumpus, Rob Roberge asks how much this contributes to popular disinterest in literature.
This weekend is the last chance to visit the International Antiquarian Book Fair in Boston. Included are a collection of Bonnie and Clyde photos and an illustrated letter from Alexander Graham Bell to his parents describing problems with his phone invention.
“A continuation of a book that has proved very popular seldom is successful, and we cannot say that we think Alice’s adventures by any means equal to her previous ones.” The Guardian digs up its original review of Lewis Carroll‘s Through the Looking Glass.
Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“