Recommended listening: Marilynne Robinson talks with NPR about about her latest novel, Lila, which we covered in our “Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview” and which Leslie Jamison recently reviewed for The Atlantic.
“The morning after the opening sentence took shape, Heller “arrived at work”—at the Merrill Anderson Company—“with my pastry and container of coffee and a mind brimming with ideas, and immediately in longhand put down on a pad the first chapter of an intended novel.” The handwritten manuscript totaled about 20 pages. He titled it Catch-18. The year was 1953.” Happy Birthday Joseph Heller, author of the anti-war classic Catch-22, born this day in 1923 in Coney Island, New York.
StoryBundle, a new service that lets you pay as much (or as little) as you want for preselected bundles of ebooks, announced on Wednesday that their latest bundle is a collection of writing about video games. Among other things, it includes two books by Jordan Mechner, the man behind Prince of Persia, as well as two issues of Kill Screen.
In theory, the author of a great novel is invisible to the reader, letting her stories and characters speak for themselves. In practice, however, it can help for an author to make herself known, as explained by Tim Parks in this essay. Sample quote: “We have the impression that if someone ever did find the full story of his life, we would immediately recognize the person we had in mind.”