“I think writing about the real world, as we live in it today, is very difficult; many writers try to escape it. But then what books will be the classics from our generation? Which of them will be the commentaries on our lot?” William Ruof argues that studying nonfiction may make the best fiction writers in a piece for The State Press.
“Genius” is a loaded term. Its application usually says more about the person making the judgment than it does about the genius in question. In The Guardian, Sophie Hannah argues that the term isn’t used enough to describe one writer in particular: Agatha Christie. You could also read Daniel Friedman on the terrible secret of all crime fiction.
The diary novel may be "an under-attended" genre, but Johannah King-Slutzky is trying to remedy that. In an essay for The Hairpin she traces the diary novel's history from the Victorian era to Go Ask Alice while examining the genre's balance of "melodrama and awkward moralizing" with the potential for subversion.
Amber Sparks investigates why short stories are overlooked. She writes, “Most people really don’t like short stories. And that includes lots of critics, who often seem to regard short story collections as a warm-up for the real thing.” Pair with Paul Vidich’s Millions piece about the future of the short story.
“And so despite my esteem for the high challenge of writing, for the reach of the writerly life, it’s not something anyone actually wants me to do. The American mind has made that very clear, it has said: ‘Be a specialised something — fill your head with the zeitgeist, with the technical — and we’ll write your ticket.’”
Celebrate today's arrival of John Irving's new novel Last Night in Twisted River by seeing where it falls on Wikipedia's John Irving recurring themes matrix. Also new today is Paul Auster's Invisible and a new collection of Paris Review interviews (including, among others, Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth). Speaking of Roth, his new novel The Humbling came out last week.