Out this week: I Am Radar by Reif Larsen; Discontent and Its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid; Bitter Eden by Tatamkhulu Afrika; Wonderkid by Wesley Stace; and Lucky Alan, a new story collection by Jonathan Lethem. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
An early example of the literary take-down. Willa Cather on Mark Twain: “He is not a reader nor a thinker nor a man who loves art of any kind.”
“Will anyone in America give a damn about Beig? It’s hard to imagine our glittering zeitgest machine ever getting behind her, with her landscape, her women, her knowledge of the secret lives of animals born for the hatchet. Her writing, so invested in the disappearing rural world, is particular, yes, but universal: her characters love and long and pine away.” Matthew Neill Null is unsatisfied with how American readers have treated the work of the great German novelist Maria Beig. He makes a passionate case in her favor in this new essay over at The Paris Review.
“But now that my first book of poems has come out, I’ve become increasingly aware of the challenge of writing a good inscription to a reader. As soon as I’ve got the pen in my hand, I become the most unoriginal message-writer on the planet.” On a little-known gripe about book signings.
Earlier this week, our own Thomas Beckwith reported on the Hermione/Ron scandal. Now, Mallory Ortberg has penned Ron Weasley’s secret diary at The Toast. “I don’t want to die. I’ve never even seen a movie. Seventeen years old and I’ve never seen a movie and I still don’t know what math is.” No wonder why J.K. Rowling wanted Hermione to end up with Harry.