For the most part, Tolstoy is known as a realist, despite his work’s occasional dips into fancy. Yet the plotlines of his great novels featured long and important dream sequences. In The New York Review of Books, Janet Malcolm argued that Tolstoy was a master of dreams, using Anna Karenina as proof.
"We all read from different places, different backgrounds, and my meeting with Proust or Woolf, or Lydia Davis or J. M. Coetzee, will not be yours, nor should it be. On the other hand I do believe reading is an active skill, an art even, certainly not a question of passive absorption. ... [so] there must be techniques and tools that everyone can use or try, even if we use them differently." Tim Parks explains how he reads for The New York Review of Books.
New this week: Loitering by Charles d’Ambrosio; The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck; Windows on the World, a collection of Paris Review essays illustrated by Matteo Pericoli (Karl Ove Knausgaard's contribution is excerpted here); The Heart Has Its Reasons by María Dueñas; A Woman Without a Country by Eavan Boland; Love Poems by Bertolt Brecht; and Family Furnishings, a new selection of short stories by Nobel laureate Alice Munro. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Good news for people who like good things: The Missouri Review has unveiled a Little Black Book of Fiction app. The 99¢ app is a collection of 11 stories from the likes of William Gay (a Post-40 Bloomer), Robert Olen Butler and Nanci Kincaid – and each story comes with its own audio introduction, author information, and opening photograph.
There’s a new trailer out for the book Worn Stories, a collection of pieces about clothing and memory edited by Emily Spivack. The contributor list includes, among others, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Greta Gerwig and Marina Abramović. (h/t The Rumpus)