“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.
Here's a book that's sure to be included in our second-half installment of our Most Anticipated books: Zadie Smith's NW, which traces the lives of several people who make it out of one of Northwest London's housing estates. The promotional copy calls it a "delicate, devastating novel of encounters."
A moving tribute to Ray Bradbury on The Paris Review Daily from his one time fact checker Stephen Andrew Hiltner: "Ray Bradbury, who never went to college and was entirely library educated, had what so many of the sophisticated, MFA-carrying writers today lack: passion, vitality, emotional awareness." Also: Wired has collected a bunch of reminiscences from science fiction writers, including Ursula K. Le Guin.
William Carlos Williams's birthday was this last week, and Adam Kirsch writes about the poet for New York Review of Books. Though he argues that "today it would be hard to find a reader of poetry who would not acknowledge William Carlos Williams as one of the major American modernists" Kirsch still has to face the question, "why is it, then, that almost fifty years after his death, the reputation of [Williams] still seems to be haunted by a ghost of uncertainty?"