“Maybe our anointed literary books just have to be earnest ones because earnest ones showcase that soupçon of intelligence. Maybe humor isn’t felt to indicate a genuine commitment to looking smart.” Year in Reading alum Lydia Millet talks with Jenny Offill about humor writing, what books are “anointed” as modern classics, and Millet’s new book, Mermaids in Paradise.
Robert Roper wonders whether or not Ernest Hemingway‘s death has “eclipsed his work.” Elsewhere, Melville House wonders whether or not the FBI had something to do with it. The author’s influence is as apparent today as ever before, though perhaps it’s not his death that endures, but rather his perceived masculine mystique.
Out this week: Beatlebone by Kevin Barry; Memory Theater by Simon Critchley; Bright Scythe: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer; Charmed Particles by Chrissy Kolaya; and This Old Man by Roger Angell. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
New Vessel Press is a new publisher specializing in the translation of foreign literature into the English language. Translator Ross Uffberg and journalist Michael Z. Wise started it last year. Next month, they’ll publish their first book, The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, and they have plans for quite a few more as well.
Jaden Smith is going from an action movie career to starring in an adaptation of James McBride’s National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. Liev Schreiber will play John Brown. If you’re unsure about casting a rapper to play the protagonist, take it up with McBride, who is also producing the film.
Sudoku getting too easy, you say? Try making (or, rather, writing) one instead, like this nine-paneled comic that works across, down, or on a diagonal.
Out this week: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (who Angela Qian wrote about for The Millions in September); We Are Water by Wally Lamb; Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins; Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books by Claudia Roth Pierpont; and The Eternal Wonder, a recently discovered novel by Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck. For more on these and other new books, check out our Great Second-half 2013 Book Preview.