The Skinny is acclaimed author Susan Orlean’s strangest work, hands down: a half-serious diet book that advises women, among other things, to cover tempting food with bleach. Not one to follow her own advice, Orlean’s diary of a week of eating for Grub Street features yogurt breakfasts, crackers eaten over sinks, and other basically realistic, bleach-free culinary adventures.
Some folks were abuzz this week about the release of all 47 endings to Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms. That kind of commitment to a single story is impressive, and illustrates the author’s dedication to his work, but as Andrew O’Hagan points out in the London Review of Books, Big Papa loved no story so much as his own.
In 1958, the Indian writer Yashpal published the first installment of This Is Not that Dawn, an eleven-hundred-page novel and feminist epic written in Hindi. The book presages many of the biggest controversies affecting India today. At Page-Turner, Karan Mahajan reads the novel, explaining why he believes it to be "the greatest long novel about India." Related: Mythilo G. Rao pays a visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Out this week: Black Glass by Karen Joy Fowler; The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera; The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler; The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George; The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango; Tradition by Daniel Khalastchi; and Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
The University of Texas at Austin has recently acquired Kazuo Ishiguro’s archive. The collection reveals early drafts, a pulp Western novel that Ishiguro thought had been lost, and his early attempts at songwriting. "For many years," he said, "I've been in the habit of keeping a large cardboard box under my desk into which I throw, more or less indiscriminately, all papers produced during my writing that I don't want to file neatly and take into the next stage of composition: earlier drafts of chapters, rejected pages, scraps of paper with scribbled thoughts, repeated attempts at the same paragraph, etc.”
Right on the edge of Banned Books Week, Rainbow Rowell discusses when Minneapolis's Anoka-Hennepin school district, the county board, and the local library board censored her from coming to speak about her YA novel Eleanor & Park. "When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible," she says.