The Toast announced their first vertical this week, and even better than its name (The Butter, of course) is its editor – Roxane Gay, darling of the literary internet and author of Bad Feminist and An Untamed State. In answer to the question “What will this particular vertical be like?” Toast editor Mallory Ortberg said “WHATEVER ROXANE WANTS IT TO BE,” so we have a lot to look forward to. Pair with The Millions’s review of An Untamed State and Gay’s 2013 “A Year in Reading.”
“Fiction is messier. Essay is, for me, an attempt at a kind of clarity. I have a very messy and chaotic mind, but when I’m writing an essay I find I can exert a bit more control over it.” The The Guardian published a Q&A with Zadie Smith with questions from fellow authors, politicians, and fans. Smith’s upcoming essay collection, Feel Free, is featured in the first half of our 2018 Great Book Preview.
There are reality TV shows for aspiring designers, singers, and chefs, so what about writers? The Italian reality show Masterpiece will pit writers against each other in competition for a book deal. As judge Giancarlo De Cataldo said, “The book is dying, and we must do everything we can to save it. Even a talent show.” We expect a lot of dramatic crying at typewriters.
This week the Band of Merry Men/Women that is of Football Book Club is reading Carmen Giménez Smith’s poetry collection Milk and Filth — and posting about Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction. Also: Check in later this week for possible guest posts by Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Also: There will be no guest posts by Ben Carson and Donald Trump.
Out this week: The Nix by Nathan Hill; Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohoe; The Legend of Jesse Smoke by Robert Bausch; and Sex and Death, a new story anthology including pieces by Kevin Barry, Wells Tower and Yiyun Li. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
Oh, shit: looks like many of our curse words are quickly going extinct. (There is good news, however, contained in this delightful sentence: “Still, according to Sheidlower, f-bomb enthusiasts need not fret too much.”)
The new year ushered in more than soon-to-be-broken resolutions. This January 1, a vast cache of works released in 1923 entered the public domain—including tens of thousands of books. Here’s how to download them for free, and here’s what all this means for publishers and readers alike. Happy hunting.
Writers are told that they should outline their work. Elizabeth Gilbert has outdone us all by writing a 70-page outline for The Signature of All Things. “I have no German Romantic idea about work. There’s no fugue state, you know? I could no more write at 3 a.m. than I could with a quill pen. I keep farmer’s hours and I have that sort of plotting and plodding way,” she told The Daily Beast.