“The voices you hear when you sit down to write lead you to believe that you’re a character in the novel you’re writing even though metafiction hasn’t been invented yet.” If this applies to you, you might be in a Muriel Spark novel according to Maud Newton’s article at The Toast. We aren’t surprised that Newton wrote this because Spark made her 2010 Year in Reading post.
Here's a book that's sure to be included in our second-half installment of our Most Anticipated books: Zadie Smith's NW, which traces the lives of several people who make it out of one of Northwest London's housing estates. The promotional copy calls it a "delicate, devastating novel of encounters."
Out this week: Thirty Girls by Susan Minot; The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol; The Bear by Claire Cameron; The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton; The Quiet Streets of Winslow by Judy Troy; a new translation of August by Christa Wolf; The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter; and The Journey of a Caribbean Writer by Maryse Condé. For more on these and other new releases, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
Interested in writing a bestseller? You may want to check out Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers' newest book, The Bestseller Code. Or maybe not: "At times, it seems like Archer and Jockers are trying to retrofit a closed system. They found that best-sellers have lots of contractions—the better, they explain, to mimic contemporary speech—and exclamation points only rarely ... They conclude that best-sellers consist of 'shorter, cleaner sentences, without unneeded words,' and that best-selling characters 'make things happen.' Active verbs predict best-sellers better than passive verbs. 'Hesitation doesn’t keep pages turning,' Archer and Jockers decide. After all that work, in other words, the algorithm ends up confirming the uncontested tenets of craft and style."
“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.