“The Goldfinch is a grand nineteenth-century novel in that it is an 800-page chronicle of capitalism, a paean to the ways in which the world turns on the questions of who can or can’t pay for what, and how these abilities and inabilities mold us over time. Like the life events and relationships it depicts, it purports to be about love but is actually about money. This portrayal of twentieth century North American society is accurate, but also, just as in life, both exhausting and demoralizing.” On Donna Tartt’s latest novel. (You could also read Adam Dalva’s take on the book.)
Here's a novel idea: using literature to map out the emotions of a time period. (1940s? Sad. 1920s? Happy. 2010s? ...Don't ask.)
It was the height of the feminist revolution and one man was trying, unsuccessfully, to publish a book about a man amidst a midlife crisis. 25 years later, Esquire editor Gordon Lish read sections of An Armful of Warm Girl in a literary magazine and demanded that Knopf reconsider publishing it (they did). This week over at Bloom, Nicki Leone dives into the work of W.M. Spackman, the man often referred to as "Fitzgerald's literary heir."
Sean Manning (of Talking Covers) hosted a discussion with Jonathan Lethem last week at LA’s Last Bookstore. You can check out video and audio of the event over here, and the post also features an exclusive glimpse at the cover art for Lethem’s forthcoming novel Dissident Gardens. (Bonus: a look at Dissident Gardens in our Great 2013 Book Preview.)
A number of indie book stores, squeezed by patrons using their shelves only for research into later online purchases, are starting to charge admission for in-store readings and events, the New York Times reports.
Among the recommendations and rules listed in the CIA’s official style guide: favor the active voice; keep sentences and paragraphs short; boats should not be referred to with gendered pronouns; and the “w” in “Vietnam war” should be lower case because war wasn’t officially declared.
If you're looking forward to the next Margaret Atwood novel, you'll have to wait a century. Atwood is the first author to participate in the Future Library project, in which 100 authors will write 100 original manuscripts to be published 100 years from now. We're envious of our grandchildren. If you'd like an Atwood fix sooner, her short story collection Stone Mattress: Nine Tales comes out next week.
Earlier this week, I told you about a few lists of some really great poetry from 2015. In keeping with the poetic spirit, here’s another fantastic piece from The New York Times in which everyone from Ta-Nehisi Coates to Elena Ferrante talk about their favorite poems of all time.