Recommended Reading: Anya Groner’s short story “Suspecting the Smiths” at The Oxford American. “From the ages of nine to eleven, I worked as a spy… I discussed my cases with my partner, who went by code name Mountain Chicken Mother of the Buddha.”
The 87th annual California Book Awards, which “recognizes the state’s best writers and illuminate the wealth and diversity of literature written in California,” announced this year’s finalists. The nominees include Rachel Khong‘s Goodbye, Vitamin, Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Refugees, and Zinzi Clemmons‘s What We Lose (here’s the full list). From our archives: The Millions’ interview with Khong.
Chances are you’ve heard that in a recent interview, Claire Messud responded to a patronizing question about one of her characters — “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you?” — by giving her interviewer a smackdown that resonated across the blogosphere. At Page-Turner, several authors (including Rivka Galchen, Jonathan Franzen and Year in Reading alumna Margaret Atwood) offer their own takes on the matter of “likeability.” (There’s also this piece by our own Emily St. John Mandel to consider.)
“When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience. The cause of this I shall endeavour to investigate further.” David Shields quotes Edmund Burke in an interview about his new book War Is Beautiful.
Kickstarter is expecting to raise more than $150 million for its users’ projects in 2012. That’s $4 million more than the “entire fiscal year 2012 budget for the National Endowment of the Arts.” Maybe it’s because the NEA is wasting all of its money on that $1.3 billion poem…