“There used to be a time when people read literature to confront stuff. To experience things vicariously—whether it’s a forbidden scene or a forbidden idea. I think now we’re looking to literature for an escape from that. I’m not sure why that is.” Guernica interviews Marlon James, whose most recent novel A Brief History of Seven Killings was reviewed on the Book Report.
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska’s prairies played in Willa Cather’s writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. “From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. “
Leslie Jamison and Francine Prose discuss the ways reading can affect your life for the worse, with potential results ranging from murder to being bad at sports.
Sometimes, Virginia Woolf took a break from her busy schedule of constant brilliance in order to write children’s stories for her nephews’ newspaper, The Charleston Bulletin. A taste: “When in a good and merry mood Trisy would seize a dozen eggs, and a bucket of flour, coerce a cow to milk itself, and then mixing the ingredients toss them 20 times high up over the skyline, and catch them as they fell in dozens and dozens and dozens of pancakes.”
Thanks in part to Dalkey Archive Press’s recently announced Library of Korean Literature, works from Korea are poised to reach a broad and welcoming international audience as never before. Yet the country is still “pin[ing] for its own world-famous writer,” writes Craig Fehrman. Perhaps Kim Seong-kon is just what the doctor ordered.