Last week, our own Edan Lepucki interviewed her copyeditor. This week at Tin House, executive editor Michelle Wildgen reflects on what she has learned from being both an editor and writer. Her biggest discovery: “The whole thing should be a conversation.”
Gary Indiana posits that “no current literary label appealingly describes the kind of narratives [Renata Adler’s] Speedboat and Pitch Dark are.” This might be true. However in the name of moving forward with discussion, perhaps we can all go with Matthew Spektor’s summation of Adler’s debut novel: “if it’s ‘like’ anything at all, a steeplechase of [dazzling] hurdles could be it.”
What would the child of The Big Lebowski characters The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) look like? Maybe like Lt. Col. Django (Bridges, again), one of the characters in Grant Heslov‘s The Men Who Stare at Goats, set to release in November, a comedy about the U.S. military’s attempt to train psychic soldiers (based on the book by Jon Ronson).
Colm Tóibín’s new book on Elizabeth Bishop is unusually hard to categorize. Part “primer,” part “personal reflection,” in Jonathan Farmer’s words, it moves back and forth between analysis and lyricism, alternating passages of beauty with nuts-and-bolts guides to Bishop’s poems. In Slate, Farmer tries to nail it down. You could also read our own Michael Bourne’s review of Tóibín’s The Master.
Recommended Reading: In her new memoir, Joyce Carol Oates praises Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass as “the singular book that changed my life – that made me yearn to be a writer.”
In random-but-awesome news, Geoff Manaugh‘s BLDGBLOG reports on a new project by Dutch earth scientists to piece together what they’re calling an “atlas of the underworld.” Using CT scans to visualize “invisible landscape features—the ghostly remains of entire continents—hidden inside the planet,” the project will reveal a surface within earth’s surface. See also: our review of Where You Are, an anthology of sixteen alternative maps by a range of artists and writers including Geoff Dyer, Valeria Luiselli, and Leanne Shapton.
“There are so many cool things going on in Spokane now that I have this overwhelming urge to attend a tractor pull.” Jess Walter has written an addendum to his essay “Statistical Abstract for My Home of Spokane, Washington.”