New this week: Flings by Justin Taylor; We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar; Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher; and a new translation of a French children’s book by Lydia Davis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Over at Salon, Matt Zoller Seitz talks about his new book Mad Men Carousel and why audiences felt such a profound attachment to the protagonists. Despite their flaws, Seitz argues that it is the consistency in their behavior that endeared us to characters like Don and Betty, literal misfits though they were. Still having trouble admitting the show is over? This may help.
Interested in writing a bestseller? You may want to check out Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers‘ newest book, The Bestseller Code. Or maybe not: “At times, it seems like Archer and Jockers are trying to retrofit a closed system. They found that best-sellers have lots of contractions—the better, they explain, to mimic contemporary speech—and exclamation points only rarely … They conclude that best-sellers consist of ‘shorter, cleaner sentences, without unneeded words,’ and that best-selling characters ‘make things happen.’ Active verbs predict best-sellers better than passive verbs. ‘Hesitation doesn’t keep pages turning,’ Archer and Jockers decide. After all that work, in other words, the algorithm ends up confirming the uncontested tenets of craft and style.”
Here are a couple Halloween-related essays from the good people at The Literary Hub: This fascinating literary history of witches by Jess Bergman, and this piece by Tobias Carroll on non-fiction writers crossing the supernatural line between fantasy and reality.
A retired Japanese couple has teamed up with an architecture firm to design “a house with a bookshop and a café where neighbors and visitors can stop by.” The result is a decidedly more spacious and well-lit version of Brazenhead Books – another domicile/bookshop.
Actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, will be producing a film adaptation of A Moveable Feast, a memoir of Hemingway’s early years as a writer in Paris. The essays feature a colorful cast of literary characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas.
“If rats then represent terror and chickens innocent striving for something approaching authenticity, humans, for Lispector, are strangely in the middle, often stricken with fear, or handing out terror, but ready also to soar or break loose or achieve some freedom or be fully alert to their fate in a time short enough for one of her stories to be enacted.” Colm Tóibín writes about Clarice Lispector’s The Complete Stories. You could also check out a Year in Reading by Katrina Dodson, translator of the collection and our review of the book.