Recent Year in Reading alum Rebecca Makkai writes about the difference between publishing your first book and your second book for Ploughshares. Let’s just say it’s the difference between champagne and “all the whiskey.” Pair with Zhanna Slor‘s Millions interview with Makkai in which they discuss that second book, The Hundred-Year House.
The Olympics Opening Ceremony this year sure was… something. Thankfully, folks more eloquent than I are here to parse its craziness for us: Jenny Diski and Rafil Kroll-Zaidi on what it was, plus Alex Shephard and the Full Stop bunch on what it should have been.
If you’re not already a fan of Will Self, his new book, Shark, may not be the best place to start. As Walker Rutter-Bowman points out, the book dispatches with many of the conventions of modern writing, including line breaks, paragraphs and dialogue tags. But it’s still an effort worthy of its author, he writes: “Here is a hunk of modernism that poignantly, beautifully, and, it seems, genuinely renders mental states of sanity and insanity while smudging the gradations in between."
Not sure why Harry Potter shares the fruits of his heroism? Upset that Hermione doesn’t end up with tons of cash? Well, then you should sit down with Ayn Rand’s version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, helpfully published at The Toast by Mallory Ortberg.