Recommended reading: The New Yorker‘s Amelia Lester reviews Richard Flanagan‘s “love story set amid horrific historic events,” The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which just won the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
You may have heard that Alice Munro couldn’t make it to Sweden to accept this year’s Nobel prize. Instead, she made a video, which you can watch in full on the Nobel Prize committee’s website. (You could also read Ben Dolnick’s beginner’s guide to her work, or else read my essay on the meaning of her win.) (h/t The Paris Review)
What do you call a genre that mixes westerns and fantasy novels? Damien Walter proposes the term “weird western.” In The Guardian, he runs down the history of the hybrid category, citing Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country and Molly Tanzer’s Vermillion as examples. Pair with Daniel Kalder on the Euro-Western.
Book Three of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle is out this week, as is a new novel by Millions contributor Emma Straub. Also out: The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner; The Untold by Courtney Collins; Above the East China Sea by Sarah Bird; Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson; and a new volume of the Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
"I am not at all sure—convinced, certain, persuaded—that creative-writing courses are a good idea unless they prevent people from writing sentences like this one, where adjectives—useful, helpful, intensely descriptive words—are stacked upon one another as Pelion used to be piled upon Ossa." Alexander McCall Smith on the dangers of overwriting.
"We connect with books in an intellectual way, but the most valuable relationships we have with them are emotional; to say that you merely admire or respect a book is, on some level, to insult it. Feelings are so fundamental to literary life that it can be hard to imagine a way of relating to literature that doesn’t involve loving it. Without all those emotions, what would reading be?" Joshua Rothman on "The History of 'Loving' to Read."