Lots of new releases this week, among them a new paperback edition of Tenth of December by George Saunders. Also out: Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus; The Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah; On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee; The Scent of Pine by Lara Vapnyar; The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd; The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani; and Little Failure by Year in Reading alum Gary Shteyngart. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
“It all adds up to a fascinating portrait-of-the-artist-on-the-make in the booming 1950s. And it makes you wish the stories were better.” Year-in-Reading alum Jess Walter reviews a new (911-page) collection of stories by Kurt Vonnegut. See also: “2 B R 0 2 B”, a “lost” Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
“I am nostalgic for letters. There’s a craft that’s been lost in expressing some kind of desire or passion or bodily experience for someone else.” From James Joyce to Frida Kahlo, The Guardian collects bits of great artists' erotic missives to one another. And speaking of literary love letters, how about Nicholson Baker's Vox [ed. note: it makes a great Valentine's Day gift]?
U.S. publishing house Little, Brown had a rough day in the news yesterday. Its coy marketing tactics have rubbed some booksellers the wrong way, reports Julie Bosman for The New York Times. Later on, The New York Post's Keith J. Kelly noted that the publisher has dropped one of its bigger titles. Jason Bennett raises some additional questions.
Fans of Arundhati Roy are celebrating at the news that the author will publish a new novel, her first in 20 years, reports Electric Literature; The Ministry of Utmost Unhappiness is scheduled for release in 2017. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg maaaaay have poked a bit of fun a few years back at the title of Roy's first novel, The God of Small Things, but that was all in good fun.
Originally, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey included more narration by co-writer Arthur C. Clarke, whose short story "The Sentinel" was the basis for Stanley Kubrick's script. At the last minute, Kubrick decided to cut them out, which led to Clarke leaving the US premiere halfway through. In a piece for The New Statesman an old friend of Clarke's explores his side of the story. You could also read Ted Gioia on a weirdly predictive '60s sci-fi novel.