“The second prophecy was even more intense than the first one, and introduced a lot of new rules I didn’t even know existed, but everyone else seemed to kind of already know about them. But you know what? We’re a misfit band of teens who will do anything for each other now, like stand up to that town bully who’s not even scary to us anymore, now that we’ve faced pure evil and lived.” An excerpt of Mallory Ortberg’s best-selling YA novel.
“Bestselling self-published authors attract producers because they have a proven track record if they stay on Amazon sales charts over time.” The Guardian considers the Hollywood success of writers such as Andy Weir, E. L. James, and Mark Dawson. And just last year our own Bill Morris wondered why literature was enjoying such a good run out in LaLa Land: “Four novels as source material for Oscar-nominated screenplays? What happened? Did some pixie slip a vial of smart powder into the L.A. drinking water?”
You may have heard that Haruki Murakami has a new book on shelves. Woody Brown reviewed it for The Millions last week. Over at Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel invites us to play Murakami Bingo, created by Grant Snider, once again. It might also be a good time to read Ben Dooley on 1Q84.
The new year is, of course, a time for resolutions, and Electric Literature has collected literary resolutions from Alexander Chee, Year in Reading alum Emily Gould, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, and many more. Coming out of the hectic holiday season, Jonathan Lee‘s resolution seems particularly apt: “My literary new year’s resolution is to read slower. I want to try and re-discover the kind of reading where you savor every page instead of thinking about unread emails, progress through the book, progress through the to-be-read pile, and the quantity of remaining tea bags in cupboard.”
“I certainly didn’t want to do something that felt as if I was having a séance. I started with her most personal papers. I wanted her interior voice; I didn’t want the formal writing. I went immediately to her diaries and letters and to the commonplace books. From there I started looking at the marginalia because I was getting a sense of wanting to know what was on her mind while she was writing in her journals.” Lynell George conducted a posthumous interview with Octavia Butler, Bomb magazine talked to her about the process. Pair it with this essay on slavery in fiction from our own Edan Lepucki.
“Well, is ‘addiction’ what a literary writer should want in readers? And if a writer accepts such addiction, or even rejoices in it, as Murakami seems to, doesn’t it put pressure on him, as pusher, to offer more of the same?” Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers who keep producing more of the same to please hungry readers.
“Everyone was compared to García Márquez or Fuentes once upon a time. Now it’s Bolaño or Vila-Matas (best case scenario). I am not sure what the reason for this is. There are many possible explanations. One may be that Latin America is still conceived by many as a kind of remote, torrid zone, an isolated and disconnected region of the world. So the only possible references associated with younger writers are the better-known older ones, always writing within the same language.” Over at The White Review, Stephen Sparks interviews Valeria Luiselli about Latin American criticism and borrowing from the past. Also check out Lily Meyer’s Millions review of Luiselli’s new novel, The Story of My Teeth.