“In creative writing, I teach that characters arise out of our need for them. By now, the person I created in New York was the only one I wanted to be. …Eight years after reaching the end of myself, I was on borrowed time. Whether it was in a plane or a coffin, I knew I had to get out of Jamaica.” Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women, which once gave me so much trouble, and whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings the Book Report covered here, writes for the New York Times Magazine about leaving Jamaica to find himself in Minnesota.
“Symptoms included a frenzy for culling and hunting down first editions, rare copies, books of certain sizes or printed on specific paper.” Lauren Young writes in Atlas Obscura about the phenomenon of bibliomania, “a dark pseudo-psychological illness” that afflicted upper-class victims in Europe and England during the 1800s. And for a first-hand account of more contemporary book theft, read John Brandon on his high school pastime: “The first time was nerve-racking, a rush, but by the third book I was already settling in.”
“When John Green told the crowd that, though he was proud of the movie, it wasn’t his movie, someone shouted, ‘But it’s your plot, John!’—which marked the first time I’d ever heard heckling about the nature of authorship.” Green, author of YA bestseller The Fault in Our Stars, is the literary hero of teenage girls, and nerdfighter hero to millions. After you read the excellent profile at The New Yorker, consider the The Millions’ own review.
A somewhat startling headline: “Amelia Lester, 26 Year Old Former Fact Checker, is the New Managing Editor of The New Yorker.” Another interesting tidbit: The New Yorker has been exempt from meeting with the consultants who are currently scrutinizing the rest of Conde Nast’s titles.
For Angelenos: Elif Batuman will be reading from The Possessed tonight at 7:00 at the LAPL Central Library. A conversation with LA Times Books Editor David Ulin follows the reading. More information and reservations here (tickets are free).