Longtime writers know how hard it can be to tell when a piece is finished. Tolstoy famously tried to revise War and Peace right up to the book’s publication. At the Ploughshares blog, Amy Jo Burns offers tips for evaluating a piece before deciding to give it to someone else.
In his profile of Roger Angell, Sridhar Paddu offers this astute observation from Charles McGrath: “Which is the greater—Roger the writer or Roger the editor? It’s kind of a toss-up.” Bonus: Angell's piece about Don Zimmer, who just passed away this week, is well worth your time.
“I’m fascinated by epigenetics. My father had polio that affected his left leg, and I walk with my left foot turned in for no good reason at all. I was attacked by a dog when I was ten, and both my daughters have an irrational fear of dogs. It makes a strange kind of sense.” Year in Reading alum Rebecca Makkai discusses Music for Wartime and her writing process with Christine Rice. We interviewed Makkai following the release of The Hundred-Year House.
Jonah Lehrer may not have exactly “self-plagiarized” his own work, but he certainly did recycle a good amount of his writing in a misleading way. And while many have criticized this kind of lazy writing, it’s worth revisiting Tim Requarth and Meehan Crist’s critical review of Lehrer’s book, Imagine, which plays a central role in this entire scandal.
“Look. There are are only two truly great science fiction movies. The first is Stanley Kubrick's 2001...The second is Blade Runner...You may disagree with this statement. You would be wrong. Let's move on.” Damien Walter at Guardian accuses Hollywood of screwing up science fiction.
As titles go, it’s hard to get more straightforward than England and Other Stories, the new collection by Graham Swift. In the Times, Michiko Kakutani provides her verdict, lauding Swift for his ability to paint “vistas as panoramic as those in the stories of Alice Munro.”