Writing a novel is an all-consuming project, so can you imagine not telling anyone? At The New York Times, Alice Mattison discusses keeping her novels secrets until at least the third draft. “If I talk about the book, I believe — I cannot help believing — my characters will be angry, and will no longer confide in me about their embarrassing, troubled lives.” On another side of the secrecy spectrum, Emma Straub writes about what it’s like to keep a personal secret even as her literary life was booming.
Peter Matthiessen died today, according to a statement released by his publisher: “Peter Matthiessen, award-winning author of more than thirty books, world-renowned naturalist, explorer, Buddhist teacher, and political activist, died at 5:15 PM on Saturday April 5, 2014 after an illness of some months.” Matthiessen was the author most notably of two National Book Award-winning volumes, the novel Shadow Country and in non-fiction The Snow Leopard.
In celebration of Jewish Book Month, Ruchama King Feuerman—featured at Bloom in January—will go on tour to read & discuss her novel In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist. The tour kicks off today at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Book & Arts Fair in Houston; check NYRB’s event page for more upcoming appearances.
“As employers cut down on benefits and flexibility, more and more people, especially parents and those with chronic illnesses or disabilities, are getting squeezed out of ‘regular’ workplaces and into the freelance economy. What they find there is a whole new labor market that comes with a fresh set of obstacles—and some benefits, too.” On how companies and labor policy push women toward freelancing.
Over at Paper Darts, Rachel Charlene Lewis argues that editors must be held accountable for the issue of diversity in publishing. As she explains it, “The fun part about focusing instead on the role of editors is that there is an answer—we need more diverse editors, and we need editors who do the work.”
In the latest Baffler, Evgeny Morozov argues that Silicon Valley, in typical fashion, has taken to “hacking” our language. Old, trusted words don’t mean what they used to mean, and complex ideas have been stripped of subversive implications. “Complexity,” he writes, “is not particularly viral.”