New this week: Orfeo by Richard Powers; Carthage by Joyce Carol Oates; Boy in the Twilight by Yu Hua; What We’ve Lost is Nothing by Rachel Louise Snyder; and His Day is Done by Maya Angelou. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
Women writers of color can apply for the two-week Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, which is being organized by Jack Jones Literary Arts, and will take place between October 16-30, 2017. The retreat will feature daily master classes with agents, editors, and publishing professionals, and comes with a $1,050 stipend. Applications are open until May 1, 2017.
Version 2 of McSweeney's quirky iPhone app includes an ebookstore with custom-designed ebooks. "Whereas most ebooks have weird line breaks, stretched type and clunky fonts, ours are actually designed so they look just as they do in print - clean and beautiful."
Not highbrow, not lowbrow, not even middlebrow - is American culture now dominated by the upper middle brow?
"Yehuda Amichai’s genius lies in how—to borrow from his own language—he makes metaphor 'useful.' He thinks metaphorically, and in so doing he makes stories of them, treating his likenesses as if they were not metaphorical but animated literalisms. That’s why, I suspect, his metaphors have not merely poetic power but practical vitality, in the way that a horse is not only alive but usefully alive." Every time James Wood publishes a big profile in The New Yorker, it's worth a read; this week's essay on the "secular psalmist" and poet Yehuda Amichai is no different.
How would you respond if someone asked you, "If you walk into a liquor store to count the unsold bottles, but the clerk is screaming at you to leave, what do you do?" during a job interview? At The Morning News, Giles Turnbull tried to answer the weirdest job interview questions. His answer to the question: "What in the name of God would I be doing counting unsold bottles in a liquor store? Are you trying to fuck with my mind?"