“A neck cannot be modern. A neck is in time, belongs to time, but is not formed by it. My guess is that even photos of Neanderthal necks would not differ significantly… [They are] in a certain sense, pure nature. Something that grows in a certain place, the way tree trunks grow, or mussels, fungi, moss.” Recommended reading: Karl Ove Knausgaard on the sanctity of bodies, the nature of truth, and the back of the neck. The third volume of Knausgaard’s bestselling My Struggle hit American bookshelves last week. (Check out our own review of Knausgaard’s previous volumes.)
Our own Emily St. John Mandel won one of the inaugural Indie Booksellers’ Choice Awards yesterday for her novel The Singer’s Gun. The other honorees for this award, which was voted on by indie booksellers around the country, were Paolo Bacigalupi for The Windup Girl, Adam Levin for The Instructions, Karl Marlantes for Matterhorn, and Nina Revoyr for Wingshooters.
“It is a sad irony that the snake’s rattle, which functions as a warning device, is widely regarded as a bellicose drumroll, or war-cry, instead. It may well have been in a mood of remorse for having killed a rattlesnake on impulse that [William] Bartram, vowing solemnly that he ‘would never again be accessory to the death of a rattle snake,’ painted his marvelous portrait of a coiled rattler.” Christopher Benfey on Rattlesnake Island, a sanctuary set up to protect the woodland serpents from their greatest danger — us.
Recommended Reading: Laura Miller on Mario Vargas Llosa and cultural declinism.
“I do not have experiences in order to write about them. I live in order to live,” Rachel Kushner told New York Magazine. Boris Kachka profiles 2013’s most critically acclaimed author and 2013 Year in Reading participant about what it was like to grow up with hippie parents, riding motorcycles, and her affinity for the art world.
“For Groff, it is not that there’s a clearly delineated line between the universal and the particular, but rather that they are nested like Russian dolls: every story of the particular is also an iteration of the universal.” This review of Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies from 3:AM Magazine is great. Our interview with Groff from a few weeks ago makes a nice complementary read.