Recommended reading: Nick Laird writes about Claudia Rankine‘s National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Citizen: An American Lyric and “A New Way of Writing About Race” for the New York Review of Books.
“I suppose the truth is I became a little self-conscious about people telling me how much they loved my sentences,” says James Salter in his interview with Jonathan Lee. “It’s flattering, but it seemed to me that this love of sentences was in some sense getting in the way of the book itself.” As it happens, our own Sonya Chung reviewed Salter’s latest book this week, and she, too, remarked on Salter’s desire “to ‘get past the great writer-of-sentences thing,’ and presumably the ‘writers’ writer’ thing.”
It’s that time of the week wherein I remind you about the hilarious series over at Electric Literature, “Ted Wilson Reviews the World.” This week, Ted tries his best to remain impartial while reviewing that one sneeze he had: “The sneeze I had came on so quickly I didn’t have time to put my hand over my face and the spray went everywhere. It made me wish I had been standing over a salad bar so there would have been a sneeze guard handy. That’s why if I’m about to sneeze at Olive Garden I immediately sprint for the salad bar.”
Add this to the roster of great literary takedowns. Apparently Evelyn Waugh once wrote the following about Proust: “Nobody told me he was a mental defective. He had no sense of time.” (This stands in stark contrast with the views of Aleksandar Hemon, who wrote in a recent Year in Reading piece that Swann’s Way is “one of those miraculous books that gets better with every re-reading.”)
At one time considered to be the work of demons or incubi, sleep paralysis – the “transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia” – has since become accepted as a well-documented and not very uncommon phenomenon. Still, “the experience can be terrifying,” writes Karen Emslie in her recent piece about making the best of the condition.