In 2013, Mo Yan became China’s first resident Nobel Laureate in Literature, which prompted a huge swell of interest in his books in the West. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Frog, his latest novel to get an English translation. Sample quote: “Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, says everything he needs to about the Cultural Revolution with a scene in which Tadpole and other schoolboys eat coal and claim to find it delicious.” You could also read Alan Levinovitz on modern Chinese literature.
Amazon, which recently entered the world of original broadcast content, has subverted television’s traditional “pilot season” by forgoing a staggered release schedule in favor of plunking all fourteen of its pilots onto its website at once. The idea is for audiences to watch the eight comedies and six animated shows for free, and then help the company decide which options are the most promising for long term development. Just a tip: Alpha House features appearances from John Goodman and Bill Murray.
The National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced last night, and the winners might be familiar to Millions readers: last year, our own Matt Seidel reviewed fiction prize winner The Sellout, and the Football Book Club read Maggie Nelson’s winner in the criticism field, The Argonauts. Head on over to The Guardian for more details.
“Ah, I think, a lizard-poet. This particular category was one I had concocted years before to describe those poets who were too Olympian to mingle with the rest of us, who stood to the side, detached, having feelings.” Remembering Larry Levis, whose book of last poems, The Darkening Trapeze, was released this past week.
Recommended Reading: On Patricia Highsmith, Carol, and being the queer daughter of a queer mother: “I am doomed to die an ugly death or at least to be separated from my partner, probably violently. So is my queer mother and my partner and my cousin and many of my friends. We are all doomed, it seems, because this is the only story American media tells about queer women.”
The bookstore business is supposed to be dying, but Ann Patchett begs to differ. She discussed her independent shop, Parnassus Books, and the future of bookstores for The Daily Beast’s “How I Write” series. “I can’t remember the last time I was in a bad bookstore. The future of independent bookstores is strong. We need to be small. The day of the 30,000 square foot bookstore is over, but the day of the 3000 square foot bookstore has arrived.” Patchett was also interviewed for The New York Times “By the Book” series, where she said Charlotte’s Web had such an impact on her as a kid that she got a pet pig and became a vegetarian.
At Bookforum, Gee Henry talks with New Yorker staff writer Hilton Als, whose new collection of essays, White Girls, tackles subjects including Eminem, Truman Capote and Gone with the Wind. The writer also delves into his affection for André Leon Talley.