“It is so chic to be an author. To be known for one’s writing is to be truly known, do you not think?” Mindy Kaling states in the beginning of B.J. Novak’s French New Wave satire book trailer. Novak isn’t just Ryan from The Office, he also writes fiction. His short story collection, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, will be out February 4th, but in the meantime, you can read an excerpt at NPR.
“Whenever I tried to invent a character or a situation, I felt a stab of guilt. I could hear my teacher’s quavering voice saying, Write what you know! Why had she insisted on this so vociferously?” Writing class mantras are easy to impart but they are also easily misinterpreted. A.X. Ahmad, author of The Last Taxi Ride and The Caretaker, learns this truth the hard way as he tries to become a writer following a personal upheaval. Pair with Ahmad’s Millions essay on “The Thriller, Reinvented.”
As an Editor-at-Large at Interview Magazine, Christopher Bollen has talked with everyone from Joan Didion to Renata Adler to Michael Stipe. Last Friday, he became an interview subject himself, sitting down with Tom Barbash at Salon to talk about his new novel, Orient. Sample quote: “I know I’m supposed to have the young characters constantly on Snapchat and Instagram and every adult is falling asleep at night to a Netflix marathon.”
This year’s Tournament of Books comes to an end today, after nearly a month of analyses, debates and thoughtful arguments. In the final round, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life squares off with James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, both of which are, in Héctor Tobar’s words, “unorthodox, historical novels.” Now that the verdicts are in, the only question is: who won? (You could also read the quarterfinal judged by our own Lydia Kiesling.)
“There are writers we instinctively, permanently dislike: not only will we never read them, we will quietly relish the not-reading, finding in it a pleasure that can occasionally rival reading itself.” Dan Piepenbring explores the advantages of not reading for the The Paris Review. Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s essay on the art of not finishing books.