Another week of literary contests has whittled the Tournament of Books field down to four: Freedom, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Next, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Today, the team offers more analysis, previewing and recapping. Up next: the semis, the Zombie round, and the grand finale.
Out this week: Beatlebone by Kevin Barry; Memory Theater by Simon Critchley; Bright Scythe: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer; Charmed Particles by Chrissy Kolaya; and This Old Man by Roger Angell. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
Even though Harper Lee hasn’t given an interview in 50 years, her letters are an insight into the notoriously reclusive writer.”I simply don’t give interviews, because it takes great skill to ask meaningful questions and very few people in the media have it,” she wrote in a 2005 letter. Two of Lee’s letters will be auctioned today and are expected to go for at least $2,500 a piece. Pair with: Our essay on reclusive authors.
New this week: Flings by Justin Taylor; We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar; Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher; and a new translation of a French children’s book by Lydia Davis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Writers have long been attracted to duels, if only because, for the most part, they offer an easy way to ramp up the conflict in a story. At Page-Turner, James Guida takes a look at their enduring relevance, with reference to the history of the duel in Europe. Pair with: our own Nick Moran on duels in Russian literature.
In a time of crisis, any decision is better than no decision at all. That line–credited to Theodore Roosevelt–is pop conventional wisdom. An excellent piece at Aeon explores the full implications of the line, and may just convince you that your next impossible choice should be made by a soothsayer, a lottery, or a flipped coin.