There are many things you could call William S. Burroughs, who was born a hundred years ago this month, but Will Self prefers to call him “the original junkie,” a title which reflects the author’s hedonistic background and the strangeness of books like Naked Lunch. Self takes a close look at Burroughs’s novel-cum-memoir, Junky, in The Guardian.
Out this week: The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson; Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford; Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet; Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter; Twilight of the Eastern Gods by Ismail Kadare; A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin; Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash; and Shark by Will Self. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Apropos of our recent essay by a student hiding out in a bookstore with spotty Wi-Fi to avoid reading online, The Rumpus interviewed a bookstore and coffeeshop owner who has taken the bold step of making his establishment a WiFi-free zone. “I’ve observed and been told many times about how the availability of Wi-Fi creates a space where people are wrapped up in their own, solitary world and not interacting with each other.”
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
This week in book-related infographics: an “Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road Trips.”