Veterans of writing workshops will know that a good story has a heavy dose of conflict. One can add it to a story in many ways, but one of the best and most reliable is to add a predator, either in the form of a threatening organisation or an animal or person with malicious intent. At the Ploughshares blog, Year in Reading alum Megan Mayhew Bergman reflects on predatory literature.
Surely you’ve heard the hype by now. Surely you’ve seen someone blushing and shifting their eyes askance while reading this book in public. Well, now you can get a taste of what the fuss is all about. You can read the beginning of Alissa Nutting’s Tampa courtesy of Dzanc Books and The Collagist.
The swanky new LA Review of Books website is live, and it's a multimedia experience worth checking out. Users can select content by genre or article type, and the site's author, contributor, and staff pages even come with fancy head shots to boot. Be sure to check out their upcoming events page as well.
If you didn't like Elif Batuman's gut-punch to MFA writing ("Get A Real Degree") in this issue of the London Review of Books, might I suggest Jenny Diski's cudgeling of self-help lit in the LRB's Diary essay?
Out this week: Made for Love by Alissa Nutting; The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick; The Graybar Hotel by Curtis Dawkins; The Tower of the Antilles by Achy Obejas; Out in the Open by Jesús Carrasco; and Who Is Rich? by Matthew Klam. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
At HTML Giant, Catherine Lacey interviews David Shields, who says that his new book, How Literature Saved My Life, drew material from his stated identity as a “highly self-conscious lab rat.” For more, you can read our own Mark O’Connell’s review of his book in the Times.