What’s the best part of writing for Sue Monk Kidd? The solitude. What’s the hardest part for her? The solitude. Kidd acknowledged the challenges of writing in a “By the Book” interview with The New York Times. “For me, writing a novel goes on for years, and the solitude goes on, too. It tends to swallow me at times. I know it’s a problem when my husband sends the dog in to retrieve me.” Her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, came out on Tuesday and was part of our 2014 book preview.
New this week: The Best of McSweeney’s; a new e-book edition of Highway Trade by John Domini; and new paperback editions of Between Heaven and Here by Susan Straight and Samuel Johnson is Indignant by Lydia Davis. (You could also read Susan Straight’s Millions essay on Toni Morrison's Sula.)
In The New York Times Magazine, Heather Havrilesky cautions against "The Divorce Delusion," or one of modern drama's most unrealistic tropes. "Infidelity, a love child (or two), dalliances with prostitutes, lewd online behavior; we’ve watched so many spouses bounce back from hell," she writes, "that maybe we’re beginning to believe that there’s no trauma so great that it can’t be quickly metabolized into a courageous determination to sally forth against the storm."
Some amateur biologists are at work replacing lamps with bio-luminescent trees and flowers, reports Andrew Pollack for The New York Times. Meanwhile South Korean scientists have barking up an entirely different tree for the past two years. (I’m sorry for the pun; here’s an image of a glowing beagle to make amends.)
Flip through the blurbs on a recently published novel and you’re likely to come across a ton of stock phrases. Gary Shteyngart parodied this repetition -- as well as other facets of the blurb-industrial complex -- in a bit of improv last year. At The Morning News, Christine Gosnay writes about a poem that gave her a genuinely new reaction: the sense that she was "more than one person.”
The latest entity to get sucked into the Jerry Sandusky pedophile scandal that’s engulfed Penn State? Amazon. Users are leaving angry comments on the site’s comment boards about Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story, Sandusky’s unfortunately titled 2001 biography.