“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.
Granta posts Salman Rushdie’s 1984 essay ‘Outside the Whale’ - a response to an essay by George Orwell about the political role of the artist: “If writers leave the business of making pictures of the world to politicians, it will be one of history's great and most abject abdications.”
A July 2009 interview at bookish us with National Book Award nominee Bonnie Jo Campbell. Interesting especially is the question (and answer) about how/why American Salvage, the only book from a small press among this year's NBA finalists, ended up with Wayne State University Press (with an initial print run of 1,500).
Among the better tidbits from Gary Shteyngart’s diary of his book tour for Little Failure is the fact that he’s apparently had fellow Russian immigrants ask him to sign books for “a failed paralegal” and “a worse failure than even you.” If, after reading that, you'd like another dose of Shteyngart, you could do worse than his Year in Reading entry.
The worst thing about owning your own bookstore? According to Garrison Keillor, it's that "you do not get a 10 percent discount when you buy books. I don’t know why. It was explained to me once, and I didn’t understand. I mean, I’m the owner, right? But no, that’s not how it’s done."
New this week: You're Not Much Use to Anyone by David Shapiro; A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray; After Everything by Suellen Dainty; The Blue Buick by B.H. Fairchild; Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley; and a new translation of The Bacchae by Euripides. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.