“The real world is massive and chaotic beyond the scope of any story, but the novel has always been the storytelling medium that could come closest to capturing it. And the novels that dared to really try – from Hugo to Tolstoy – are often the ones that have endured.” That’s not to say, of course, that bigger is always better, and in an article for The Guardian Damien Walter argues against the current glut of epic, serialized fantasy novels taking their cues from George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire. As Walter puts it, “There are great fantasy short stories, novellas and single novels that deserve much wider audiences, but are sidelined by the industry’s unhealthy fixation with the serial format. It’s time for the fantasy genre to tell some new – shorter – stories.”
Is there a better way to honor Norman Mailer than by throwing a few punches? Nate Freeman was bored at the book party for J. Michael Lennon's new biography, Norman Mailer: A Double Life, so he got into a drunken fist fight in Mailer's apartment. We bet Mailer would approve.
Graduation season is upon us, and college students across the nation are listening to esteemed commencement speakers. Some get treated to the likes of Bill Watterson, Jon Stewart, or Barbara Kingsolver. (I got to listen to The Rock.) In the thrill of the moment, it feels like it hardly matters who's at the podium. One wonders if audiences really grasp the material in these speeches right away, or if the speaker's words only become clear later on. Inspired by David Foster Wallace's iconic Kenyon address in 2005, our own Kevin Hartnett tried to find out.
Well, this is awkward. When the National Book Foundation announced its nominees last week for the Young People’s Literature category of the National Book Awards, they accidentally picked a book called Shine by Lauren Myracle when they really meant to pick Franny Billingsley’s Chime.