When Maeve Binchy passed away two years ago, she left behind a novel, A Week in Winter, that appeared to cap off an accomplished 40-year career. It turns out her fans have more posthumous work to look forward to: a new 400-page story collection, Chestnut Street, that comes out on April 24th.
As we noted here recently about the rise and fall of Motown, the real issue was money — who earned it, who kept it, who never saw it. Now Barrett Strong, who co-wrote and sang the Detroit label’s first hit in 1959, “Money (That’s What I Want),” tells The New York Times that he never saw a penny of royalties for a song that became a classic and generated millions of dollars for the label. Strong’s story is the story of Motown boiled down to its bitter, ironic essence.
On the occasion of Scribner’s publication of the “Restored Edition” of A Moveable Feast, Gioia Diliberto, biographer of Ernest Hemingway’s wife Hadley, writes of her discovery of the Hadley Hemingway tapes.Sarah Schmelling’s McSweeney’s piece “Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition)” has spawned a book Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook, the canon retold in social networking parlance.Speaking of the canon, The Second Pass plays devil’s advocate and tells us which of history’s most praised books are best avoided. (We will pass over in silence the inclusion of One Hundred Years of Solitude.)Mark Athitakis writes about the National Book Award in 1980, “an interesting time for the prize.” The previous year, publishers pulled out of the awards, contending according to an NYT article, “the awards favored little-read books.” (This criticism resurfaced in 2004.) After 1980, the festivities ballooned to eight fiction categories before eventually being scaled back in subsequent years. (via Maud)In Slate, Nathaniel Rich wonders why “the most peaceful people on earth [Scandinavians] write the greatest homicide thrillers.”The “Significant Objects project,” in which worthless trinkets are sold on eBay along with original fiction written about said worthless trinkets, has launched. Participants include Curtis Sittenfeld, Lydia Millet, Matthew Sharpe, Sam Lipsyte, and a few dozen others. The eBay auctions can be found here.
The MFA program at Florida Atlantic University launched Swamp Ape Review, a new national online literary journal. For their first print issue, which is set to publish next year, they’re accepting submissions from writers in South Florida, such as Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. For a nice primer on the journal’s namesake (or, rather, its alias), I direct your attentions to Bill Kearney.
Crime novelist Sue Grafton passed away earlier this week from cancer. Lit Hub and Vulture both have touching tributes to her and her detective series starring Kinsey Millhone. “Grafton belonged to a cluster of female authors who viewed the private-detective subgenre, previously dominated by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Grafton’s own hero, Ross Macdonald, in desperate need of subverting” and “The annual release of her latest Kinsey Millhone novel was, for generations of devotees, one of the year’s premier literary events. ” Rest in peace Ms. Grafton.