As Amy Bloom remembers it, the inspiration for her most recent novel came from two sources: the mythos of Old Hollywood and the criminal history of her own family. In The Guardian, she recounts the genesis of Lucky Us, with brief descriptions of her family’s rap sheet.
The New Yorker announced that their literary blog, The Book Bench, will henceforth be called Page-Turner. The name change signals a “building on the work of the Book Bench blog, and expanding on it.” In an inaugural post, Ryan Bloom translates the deceptively simple first line of The Stranger.
The Olympics Opening Ceremony this year sure was… something. Thankfully, folks more eloquent than I are here to parse its craziness for us: Jenny Diski and Rafil Kroll-Zaidi on what it was, plus Alex Shephard and the Full Stop bunch on what it should have been.
In the mid-aughts, Jonathan Gottschall pioneered “literary Darwinism,” a new form of analysis which applied evolutionary theory to works of literature. It was part of a wider upheaval in English departments across the country. Now, more than ten years later, we can make an assessment: how’d it work out for Gottschall? The answer: not well. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
New writers need to trust themselves, Marilynne Robinson advises in an interview with Thessaly La Force for VICE. “The idea that you might do something radically brilliant—that assumption is very empowering and it has given the world a lot of really interesting things to look at,” she said.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the world’s most translated books. In German alone, there are over 40 different translations. A new project published by Oak Knoll Press devotes three volumes to exploring the challenges of translating Carroll’s wit, puns, and linguistic tricks in 174 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.
“I hate the idea that you must write every day because I really can’t do that. Sometimes the aching bones in my body will not allow it.” Electric Literature interviews three writers—Keah Brown, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Jillian Weise—about disability, publishing, and accessibility. From our archives: Wang’s 2016 Year in Reading entry.
Do you long to go on an adventure, but only so long as the adventure is not in any way uncomfortable or inconvenient? Has a wizard roped you into a quest because one of your ancestors invented golf? If you answer yes to either of these questions, you might be living inside of a J.R.R. Tolkien book.