“Still, it’s difficult to know whether [Shel] Silverstein, who died of a heart attack in 1999, after keeping out of the public eye for more than two decades, meant for us to read the book so conclusively. His biography and body of work suggest a subtler, and, in the end, perhaps an even more troubling, way of looking at it.” Ruth Margalit on The Giving Tree.
“There’s more to life than writing and publishing fiction. There is another way entirely, amazed as I am to discover it at this late date,” Philip Roth said in an interview with Cynthia Haven for Stanford’s The Book Haven. Besides his retirement from writing, Roth also discussed why he doesn’t consider himself an American-Jewish writer and his book The Ghost Writer. For more Roth, read our essay on lessons you can learn from his work.
What’s the best part of writing for Sue Monk Kidd? The solitude. What’s the hardest part for her? The solitude. Kidd acknowledged the challenges of writing in a “By the Book” interview with The New York Times. “For me, writing a novel goes on for years, and the solitude goes on, too. It tends to swallow me at times. I know it’s a problem when my husband sends the dog in to retrieve me.” Her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, came out on Tuesday and was part of our 2014 book preview.
Nathaniel Philbrick answers the question Why Read Moby-Dick: “the level of the language is like no other,” but also “it’s as close to being our American Bible as we have.”
We all doodle, but Meg Wolitzer gets inspired by it. When she was writing The Interestings, she frequently drew her way into her characters. “I sometimes drew crude, Harvey- and Archie-inspired images of my characters, in keeping with the spirit of Ethan Figman and Figland,” she wrote in The New Yorker.
Out this week: Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander; Sourdough by Robin Sloan; Border by Kapka Kassabova; A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré; and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.