Writing a novel together might seem like a recipe for conflict, but Gavin Kovite and Christopher Robinson, who co-wrote War of the Encyclopaedists together, argue the exercise ended up deepening their longtime friendship. At Salon, they explain why.
The state funds for California’s libraries have been dwindling for the better part of a decade, but now they face total elimination. Put into concrete terms: in the 1999-2000 fiscal year, libraries received $56.8 million from the state; in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, that number was down to $12.9 million; now they’ll receive $0.
Our regular contributor Sonya Chung is interviewed in the latest issue of Bookslut, discussing her new book Long for This World. “I write novels because it’s a place where I can bring all of who I am, and what I know, and what I don’t know but want to know, into a coherent, created world.”
If you can’t sit through a 20-minute reading, this one’s for you. Even Dostoevsky hated literary readings. As his narrator puts it, “Generally I have observed that at a light, public literary reading, even the biggest genius cannot occupy the public with himself for more than 20 minutes with impunity.” Pair with this Millions essay on the lively and maybe lost art of the literary reading.
When Good Things Happen to Bad People: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. On one of our favorite industry blogs, The Rejectionist weighs in on one of publishing’s perennial problems: what to do when someone really foul ends up being way more successful than you are.
October kicks off with a mega-dose of new fiction: Ancient Light by John Banville, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, It’s Fine By Me by Per Petterson, The Heart Broke In by James Meek, In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin, Live by Night by Dennis Lehane, and Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros. And that doesn’t even include debuts Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, That’s Not a Feeling by Dan Josefson, and Safe As Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino. And there’s more: graphic novel master Chris Ware’s Building Stories, The Paris Review’s collection Object Lessons (we interviewed one of the Steins behind the book) and this year’s Best American Short Stories collection. Finally, Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim is out in a new NYRB Classics edition with an introduction by Keith Gessen.
The University of Texas, Austin, is opening its acquired manuscripts of David Foster Wallace’s private papers, books, stories, and essays to the public. Previews of Wallace’s marked-up copies of books by DeLillo, Borges, and Updike are available on its website. (via New York Times)
It takes a certain skill to link Taipei by Tao Lin, My Struggle Part I and Part II by Karl Ove Knausgaard and an old book on Italian painting in a single essay, but Zadie Smith is (naturally) the writer for the job. In a new piece for The NY Review of Books, she asks the reader to “imagine [a drawing of a corpse] represents an absolute certainty about you, namely, that you will one day be a corpse.”