What happens if your town’s reputation was made by an author who hated it? Sinclair Lewis grew up in Sauk Centre, Minnesota and scathingly satirized it in Main Street (our Modern Library Revue of it), but it’s the town’s only claim to fame nearly a century later. At The Morning News,
In addition to the Jewish refugees who emigrated to North America in the years leading up to World War II, there was also a sizable contingent who fled East. In particular, an estimated 30,000 refugees journeyed to Shanghai between the years of 1933 to 1941. With them, the refugees brought all sorts of valuables, heirlooms, and artifacts. One family brought over 2,000 books. Now, over 70 years later, one Shanghai family is asking for help locating the owner of that library. Part One; Part Two. (h/t Bint Battuta)
We’ve already decided that it’s okay for fictional characters to be unlikable, but what about nonfiction writers? At the VQR blog, Jennifer Niesslein interviews essayists on whether their success is based on how amiable they are. “I think it’s ridiculous to expect to like someone who wrote a book you love, but the increasing visibility of writers on social media—who are expected to be the ambassadors of their books—amps up the pressure to be well-liked,” Cheryl Strayed said.
Javier Marías cogently summarizes all the reasons to stop writing novels immediately, and adds only one reason to write them anyway: “Fiction is the most bearable of worlds.” We reviewed The Infatuations, one of his own twelve works (to date), last year.
More than 5,000 books in the Occupy Wall Street library were reportedly thrown away when police moved in to remove protesters from Zuccotti Park in New York early Tuesday. A judge has signed an order allowing protesters to return to Zuccotti Park with their belongings; further court action is expected Tuesday. What that means for the books, no one yet knows.