“If Gothic literature had a family tree, its twisted gnarled branches chock-full of imperiled, swooning heroines and mysterious monks, with ghosts who sit light on the branches, and Frankenstein’s monster who sits heavy, with troops of dwarves, and winking nuns, and stunted, mostly nonflammable babies, at its base would sit Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto.” Carrie Frye writes for Longreads about the history and personality behind the first Gothic novel, which turns 250 this year.
Out this week: The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli; My Documents by Alejandro Zambra; The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler; The First Wife by Erica Spindler; The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth; Sweet Nothing by Richard Lange; and The Strange Case of Rachel K by Millions 2013 Year in Reading favorite Rachel Kushner. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
In his recent collection of poetry, The Americans, David Roderick examines the spaces in which Americans make their homes, calling on his readers to view them in the context of American history. At The Rumpus, Brian Simoneau reviews the collection, which he says illuminates some of his own odd feelings about moving from Boston to Connecticut.
"Sometimes dialect is the only way a person can stay rooted to family, to community, to everything that is familiar in a fast-changing world where nothing is certain," Amy Clark writes at The New York Times. She gives some tips on when and how to use dialect in your writing for the best and least offensive effect.