“In real life, we are often so bound by social convention, but at the same time we all have secret, inexplicable aspects of ourselves. The parts that nobody else sees. In fiction, we are not bound by social convention, so the things that mystify and unsettle are allowed to rise to the surface.” Salon interviews Laura van den Berg about her new novel, Find Me, which we covered in our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Here are some things about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle you can learn from this questionnaire: he used the word “ditto;” he reserved his greatest admiration for “men who do their duty without fuss;” and he seems to have been quite happy with being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
New Yorkers: the Brooklyn Book Festival kicks off tomorrow evening, and you can get things started off right with this party hosted by Tumblr, Electric Literature, The LA Review of Books, and The New Inquiry. The following night, however, is when you should carve out some time to see The Greatest 3-Minute Book Stories — which will feature readings by Maris Kreizman (Slaughterhouse 90210), Alexander Chee (Edinburgh), Dan Wilbur (Better Book Titles), Christopher Beha (On Making Sentences Do Something), and yours truly (these Curiosities) among others.
If your default mood hovers between melancholy and despair, you may be cheered (or at least made a bit less glum) by this argument that striving for happiness is bad for us in the long run. Mari Ruti makes the case that a “happy, balanced life” depends in large part on a kind of emotional numbness.