At the LRB’s blog, J. Robert Lennon pays tribute to Russell Edson, the playwright, novelist and prose poet who passed away last week. Lennon recounts that Edson was that rare favorite author who he learned about thanks to a cassette tape. (If you like the blog post, you could also read Lennon’s most recent novel.)
It may comfort you to know that Susan Orlean claims to have “a sad dependence” on her iPhone. The New Yorker staff writer, who published an article (paywall) on the Twitter account Horse_ebooks this week, tells Bobby Finger that she had to buy a new battery case because she ran through the charge on her phone by the middle of the day.
In an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Peter Birkenhead goes back to Nabokov‘s Speak, Memory and considers “the way our memories tell themselves to us: in hints, collisions, and rushes, overlapping, upside down, out of order.” Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg‘s piece on reading Ada, or Ardor.
“Year-end lists are always subjective and incomplete, but they are especially tricky for books. A dedicated film critic can watch every wide release film and a theater critic can go to most every play, but the book critic is faced with an insurmountable mountain of books each year. The sheer number of books is inspiring as a reader, but it can make “best of” lists laughably subjective when the critic has only read a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of books published each year.” This might help to explain the logic and intent of our own Year in Reading series, but it also prefaces Electric Literature‘s list of the top 25 story collections of 2014 (which includes recent Year in Reading alum Phil Klay‘s Redeployment).
Teju Cole’s Every Day Is for the Thief is out this week, as is Karen Russell’s e-book novella Sleep Donation. Also out: The Brunist Day of Wrath by Robert Coover; Falling Out of Time by David Grossman; Bad Teeth by Dustin Long; The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson; and The Space Between Us by Zoya Pirzad.