Earlier this month, I wrote about Louis Menand’s recent New Yorker piece about The Life of Saul Bellow, a new biography of the Nobel laureate by Zachary Leader. Now, in the LRB, Andrew O’Hagan reads the book. Sample quote: “Bellow’s community was his subject and his subject was his voice.”
Little, Brown & Company has pulled a mystery novel from the shelves after passages in the book were found to have been plagiarized from “a variety of classic and contemporary spy novels,” like James Bond novels and books by Robert Ludlum and Charles McCarry.
“What’s emerging from these studies isn’t just a theory of language or of metaphor. It’s a nascent theory of consciousness.” Michael Chorost writes about the importance of metaphors in literature and the brain.
I’ve written before about the First Sentence series at Granta. The magazine asks a prominent writer to explain how they came to write an opening line. Recently, they asked Bear Down, Bear North author Melinda Moustakis to talk about the beginning of her story “River So Close”: “She’s a good-for-nothing chummer.” You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark on the art of the opening sentence.
After reviewing a selection of new books on Godlessness, self-described disappointed disbeliever Christopher Beha wonders if literature can fill the spiritual voids of atheism. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg also investigated a slew of New Atheist books just last year.
Amazon has given its entire front page over to a “letter” from CEO Jeff Bezos touting Dan Brown’s forthcoming gnostic thriller The Lost Symbol. It’s a mix of hyperbole and “thrilling” intrigue. My favorite excerpts: “This is one of the most anticipated publishing events of all time.” “The book remains so deeply under wraps that we’ve agreed to keep our stockpile under 24-hour guard in its own chain-link enclosure, with two locks requiring two separate people for entry.” Bezos goes on to promise that Amazon will deliver Kindle owners the book “wirelessly while [they] sleep.”
The short shelf of books written by Jane Austen has been recently supplemented by many imaginative efforts–Jane Austen as an amateur detective, and several works depicting Austen characters (or Jane herself) as a vampire, a zombie or some other Gothic monster. So what’s next? Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is Pride and Prejudice continued.