“Guilt and a feeling of never being satisfied with what you’ve done. And a sense that you are inadequate and a big phony. All useful for a writer. I’m always being edited by my inner nun.” An interview with the inimitable George Saunders, author of Tenth of December, on his approach to humor. Pair with: our own reviews of his stories.
It’s rare that a writer decides his new novel will be his last, but that’s exactly what Michael Faber has done with regards to his latest, which comes out this week. In the Times, he talks with Alexandra Alter about his decision, saying: “I felt that I had one more book in me that could be special and sincere and extraordinary, and that that would be enough.” It’s probably a good time to read our own Bill Morris on the history of literary retirements.
Out this week: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler; The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver; As Good as Gone by Larry Watson; Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay; My Last Continent by Midge Raymond; and The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Sir Frank Kermode, widely acclaimed as Britain’s foremost literary critic, died yesterday in Cambridge at the age of 90. Guardian recalls highlights of his eminent career, including inspiring the founding of The London Review of Books, publishing books ranging from works on Spenser and Donne to last year’s Concerning EM Forster, and being an acclaimed reviewer: Philip Roth admitted that although he dislikes reading reviews, “if Frank Kermode reviewed my book I would read it.”
Isn’t it lovely when books and sports coexist (somewhat) peacefully? In the spirit of the Major League Baseball ALCS playoff between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals, the Twitter accounts of the Toronto and Kansas City public libraries took to the internet to air their grievances. Unfortunately for the folks in Toronto, Kansas City went on to win the game and advance to the World Series with the New York Mets. For more on the intersection of sports and reading, check out the Football Book Club.
“It was only in 1987, when she went to National Taiwan University, that the censorship laws were relaxed. Yet the censorship laws seemed to have an opposing effect on her literary ambitions. ” Meet Qiu Miaojin, the first woman in Chinese literature to come out as openly gay. Ankita Chakraborty at Longreads has more on this remarkable writer.
The upcoming Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is drawing a lot of attention. But what about the other ruling — the one aimed at grizzled old men? At The Onion, a report on Justice Alito’s recent decision, which tersely states that marriage is a pact between a man and the sea.