“I do remember thinking ‘You can’t get involved in the particle physics of fantasy.’ You can take it down to a certain level but if you get too involved in the particle physics then it’s not [useful] to continue. So I guess we have a branch of science that even its practitioners do not understand, that they may as well call magic.” Talking with David Mitchell.
On Zadie Smith in the Guardian: The new novel arrived fully-formed: Zadie Smith woke up one morning, and On Beauty was all there, in her head. She wanted to write a long marriage – she’d just got married herself, was curious what 30 years of it would be like – and she had a plot. When she described it to her new husband, poet and novelist Nick Laird, however, he pointed out she was simply rewriting Howards End. But she has never been afraid of tribute, and [E.M.] Forster was a “first love”; she had a couple of serious wobbles but this did not put her off.The Guardian also gives the book a good review. On Beauty comes out September 13.Every once in a while I spot an interesting looking item in those ads at the top of the page. Today I saw one for Out of Eden: Odyssey of Ecological Invasion by Alan Burdick. It looks like the sort of book you’d like if you like Jared Diamond’s books. It describes how different invasive species have managed to relocate to new parts of the globe.Tattoos and literature are becoming ever more enmeshed, it seems. Recent novels by Jill Ciment and John Irving dwell on tattoos, and now a Brooklyn writer, Shelley Jackson, “has been having volunteers tattooed with individual words of her 2,095-word short story (“Skin”) since 2003. Only 700 words remain to be tattooed.” Read about it here.Another online book-tracking and tagging application: Reader2
Chris Adrian‘s pedigree is impressive: former Harvard Divinity student; Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate; current fellow in UCSF’s pediatric hematology/oncology department; lifelong fan of Shakespeare. He’s also found time to appear in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and McSweeney’s. Great Night, his latest novel, imaginatively reboots A Midsummer Night’s Dream by setting it in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park. Here’s some footage of him reading an excerpt at last month’s FSG Reading Series.
Since 2003, Spain has seen its “average number of regular readers” climb from 47% (one of the three lowest in the EU) to 60%. During that time, writes Alasdair Fotheringham, the number of library borrowers in the various parts of the country has risen between 50 and 150%. Yet in spite of this burgeoning trend, library budgets are still at risk of further austerity cuts. Meanwhile, almost the exact same thing is happening in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.