Does a writer need a devoted spouse to be prolific? At The Atlantic, Koa Beck examines the concept of having a do-it-all partner like Vera Nabokov and if this traditional gender role only harms female writers. Koa interviews various writers, from Emma Straub to Ayelet Waldman, on how their literary partnerships work. “I’d fantasized that being his Vera was a way for me to deal with being stuck as a stay-at-home mom—I’d subsume my own ambitions into something ‘greater!’ But that lasted about 48 hours,” Waldman said.
Out this week: The Season of Migration by Nellie Hermann; Uncle Janice by Matt Burgess; The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton; Driving the King by Ravi Howard; Against the Country by Ben Metcalf; God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Léger; A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan; Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova; and Almost Famous Women by Year in Reading alum Megan Mayhew Bergman. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
The Poetry Archive: “The Poetry Archive is the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work. You can enjoy listening here, free of charge, to the voices of contemporary English-language poets and of poets from the past.”A few days ago the New York Times released its usual 100 book “Notable” list, but now we get the really good stuff: the Times top ten of the year. The big surprise: an appearance by Curtis Sittenfeld’s “calm and memorably incisive first novel,” Prep.Scott and Ed and others have already noted this, but I just got around to reading it: the NYRB piece on our latest National Book Award winner, William T. Vollmann.Also noted by many litblogs, the ever-multitasking Bud has launched a sleek litblog network/aggregator/community: MetaxuCafe. Very cool.
“Fantasy is a tool of the storyteller. It is a way of talking about things that are not, and cannot be, literally true. It is a way of making our metaphors concrete, and it shades into myth in one direction, allegory in another.” Neil Gaiman reviews Kazuo Ishiguro‘s The Buried Giant for the New York Times Book Review and considers the power, and risks, of fantasy. Pair with Ishiguro’s talk with The Telegraph about the 10 years since the publication of Never Let Me Go.
Booker-snubbed, but still widely anticipated, Philip Hensher’s King of Badgers is out today. As are Ali Smith’s There But for The, Erin Morgenstern’s uber-hyped debut The Night Circus, and The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate, who wrote here about writers’ work getting better as they get older.