“There’s more to life than writing and publishing fiction. There is another way entirely, amazed as I am to discover it at this late date,” Philip Roth said in an interview with Cynthia Haven for Stanford’s The Book Haven. Besides his retirement from writing, Roth also discussed why he doesn’t consider himself an American-Jewish writer and his book The Ghost Writer. For more Roth, read our essay on lessons you can learn from his work.
The Kilroys, a group of leaders in American theater, has put together a list of 46 plays by emerging women playwrights that they think deserve to produced (only 10.5% of Broadway plays are written by women). That list is a brilliant resource to promote diversity in dramatic literature–but now we want to read all the unpublished plays on it.
There are plenty of reading apps out there, but a company called Rooster has released another, this one designed to “allow users to consume bite-sized pieces of highly curated fiction” whenever they have a few spare moments. In an interview with BookBusiness, Yael Goldstein Love, the editorial director of the project, described Rooster as aiming “to bring immersive reading, particularly fiction reading, back into busy peoples’ lives.” It’s difficult to know how to feel about this. Of course we think busy people should read good fiction, but is this just a precursor to the inevitable change of literature in the face of growing technology and shortened attention spans?
“Our contemporary analogues to the personal notebook now live on the web — communal, crowdsourced and shared online in real time.” Jenna Wortham writes on how archiving the Internet would change history. We’ve written about the implications of the Internet more than once.
Last November, the University of Southern California announced that it would stop offering a Masters in Professional Writing, ending a program that counts Richard Yates and Hubert Selby, Jr. among its faculty alumni. At The Nervous Breakdown, Aram Saroyan (son of William) looks back on his time as an instructor.
Amazon has given its entire front page over to a “letter” from CEO Jeff Bezos touting Dan Brown’s forthcoming gnostic thriller The Lost Symbol. It’s a mix of hyperbole and “thrilling” intrigue. My favorite excerpts: “This is one of the most anticipated publishing events of all time.” “The book remains so deeply under wraps that we’ve agreed to keep our stockpile under 24-hour guard in its own chain-link enclosure, with two locks requiring two separate people for entry.” Bezos goes on to promise that Amazon will deliver Kindle owners the book “wirelessly while [they] sleep.”
“Russian humor is to ordinary humor what backwoods fundamentalist poisonous snake handling is to a petting zoo. Russian humor is slapstick, only you actually die.” Ian Frazier writes about the strange humor of Daniil Kharms for the New York Review of Books.