“In spite of herself, the writer has remained loyal. She is loyal to place and the past, faithfully and perpetually reconstructing it, so that no one, having read her, would ever again say, ‘What’s so interesting about small-town rural Canada?’” On a new book of selected stories by Alice Munro.
“This year, Free Comic Book Day turns sixteen years old. The good news: It can drive itself to swim practice now!” NPR’s Monkey See blog provides an irreverent and useful guide to Free Comic Book Day, which is tomorrow, May 6th. “When you read a comic, you are accepting a direct message from one singular honest soul,” Paul Morton wrote in our own pages a few years back.
Over at Threepenny Review, Jess Row expounds on “blandness” in the work of Haruki Murakami, and particularly in his 2.8 lb. tome 1Q84—a book tabbed by Charles Baxter in last year’s Year in Reading as the best he’d read all year. Row contemplates the way Murakami’s characters and sentences “almost never lose this placid, observant neutrality,” or “continuous monotone.”
“Every one of these books is a herd of animals.” The Atlantic reports that a group of archaeologists and geneticists in the UK have used mere crumbs of parchment to study the DNA of several thousand-year-old illuminated manuscripts, the pages of which were made of cow and sheep skins.
Throughout the 80s and 90s journalists turned hip hop into a literary movement. Pitchfork dives into that time and explores their legacy and impact on journalism and other literary forms. “Eager to extend the outer boundaries of their creativity, many of these writers would go on to ink novels, memoirs, short stories, scripts, and poetry, much of which stayed true to the language and attitude of hip-hop, as though their words were drafted to the sound of a boom-bap beat. It all added up to a low-key literary movement that writer and activist Kevin Powell has dubbed, ‘The Word Movement.'” Includes a great reading list at the end.
After the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, the team of Reed Johnson, Juan Forero, and Sara Munoz had cause to opine within the pages of the Wall Street Journal, who are the other “post-boom Spanish-language fiction writers whose works continue to redraw the map of Latin literature?” They list six suggestions, but I think one of the names on that list would’ve disagreed with the comparison. (Bonus: An unpublished Márquez manuscript may be on the way as well.)