“I’ve got to be writing. I have a few ways to make sure I can carve out time. Part one: Neglect everything else. Part two: Get disciplined.” David Mitchell writes about writing and the poetry of James Wright for The Atlantic. Pair with his story in tweets, “The Right Sort,” and Brian Ted Jones‘s Millions review of The Bone Clocks.
The Rake takes note of the New Yorker’s particularly dark reading of Goodnight Moon.Iain Hollingshead gamely responds to being awarded the “Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award” for his debut novel Twentysomething, which included such turns of phrase as “everything is pure white as we’re lost in a commotion of grunts and squeaks.”With a few celebs getting in trouble for racist outbursts this year Malcolm Gladwell (ever thoughtful) comes up with a way to figure out who’s really being offensive and who’s just dumb.Maud points to a new blog from one of my favorite publishers, NYRB Press.Dozens of year end-lists floating around here and elsewhere, but I always take special note of Jonathan Yardley’s year-end column because it is always thoughtful and sometimes surprising.To do (as soon as I have the time): listen to the Bat Segundo Show that features Edward P. Jones.
J.K. Rowling’s new play will not, as everyone had imagined, be a prequel to the Harry Potter series. Instead, it will be a sequel, with the main action taking place 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and focusing on Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus. Here’s a self described “jaded, contrarian” take on Rowling and the series as a whole from The Millions.
After heavy rains exacerbated a mold problem in two dorms and made some students sick, St. Mary’s College of Maryland has 240 students living aboard the Sea Voyager, a cruise ship about the length of a football field now docked at the school’s southern Maryland campus.
Another big week for books is headlined by Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (the book’s opening lines) and Junot Díaz’s This Is How You Lose Her. Also out are Susan Straight’s Between Heaven and Here, touted debuts The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, How Music Works by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and Bob Woodward’s latest Beltway tick-tock The Price of Politics.
Guernica’s latest issue is devoted to the American South. As the issue’s introduction states, “The American South is at once a geographical distinction and a bright spot in the imagination, where burden vies with birthright, and where ignorance and renaissance exist side by side.” The issue features a Kiese Laymon essay on inequality and language, Ed Winstead on the Southern accent in writing, an interview with Jesmyn Ward, fiction, and more.
If you’re not already a fan of Will Self, his new book, Shark, may not be the best place to start. As Walker Rutter-Bowman points out, the book dispatches with many of the conventions of modern writing, including line breaks, paragraphs and dialogue tags. But it’s still an effort worthy of its author, he writes: “Here is a hunk of modernism that poignantly, beautifully, and, it seems, genuinely renders mental states of sanity and insanity while smudging the gradations in between.”