The office novel, by nature, is a tricky construct, if only because your average white-collar job doesn’t offer much in the way of fiction-worthy moments. That said, recent books like Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris demonstrate how fruitful it can be to wring drama out of the rat race. In the latest issue of Dissent, Cubed author Nikil Saval delves into the contradictions of office fiction. FYI, Saval wrote a Year in Reading entry for us.
We’ve been following the raging debate about diversity in the publishing industry, which recently re-triggered when BookExpo America released a speaker list of “29 white people and a cat” (as The Toast summed it up). The panel was rebalanced, but debate around the root issue continues: recent data indicates, for example, that while the US has become more diverse in population, the number of multicultural childrens’ books has remained flat under 10 percent for two decades. Follow the continuing debate on Twitter hashtags like #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #DiverseCanLit, or look to this helpful round-up of blogs and articles at BookRiot.
“WHAT DO YOU DO? If you go to the elder debate and support gay marriage because all members of your village should have the right to a love that’s recognized by the State, close the book now. You will not impress the elders whose support you will so desperately need on your journey. Instead, your bravery will be met by an angry horde who throws you into Deadman’s Bog. If you oppose Zylorg’s marriage until a more politically opportune time — perhaps, after several gay bogmen sitcoms become popular — then congratulations, advance to page 38.” These excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s imagined, dystopian, choose-your-own-adventure YA novel are enlightening.
Did you think the title of the most recent book you read could’ve been improved if it had been a bit more straightforward? Then Better Book Titles is for you. Among their more inspired retitlings: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Gay Jewish Magicians Kill Nazis), Blink (Everyone is Racist), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (The First Book I’ve Read in Six Years).
A couple weeks back, Jonathan Callahan published a crackerjack essay here on Volume 2 of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s My Struggle. Little did we know that, even as he was writing it, he was being interviewed about his own literary debut, The Consummation of Dirk, by none other than…Rick Moody.