In theory, the author of a great novel is invisible to the reader, letting her stories and characters speak for themselves. In practice, however, it can help for an author to make herself known, as explained by Tim Parks in this essay. Sample quote: “We have the impression that if someone ever did find the full story of his life, we would immediately recognize the person we had in mind.”
Is Karl Ove Kanusgaard’s seven-volume, 3,600-page, vaugely-autobiographical epic possible to pitch over the course of an elevator ride? The good people over at n+1 are willing to give it a shot! Have you ever wondered about the view outside of Knausgaard’s window? I bet you have now.
Tony Tulathimutte offers advice on lowering word count: Merge scenes, murder characters, quit writing altogether: “merge scenes, murder characters, ‘start as close to the end as possible’ (Kurt Vonnegut), quit writing altogether.” Pair with this Millions piece on writing slowly and by hand.
“This test protocol was designed so X-ray operators could have a clearer view of carry-on baggage at checkpoints. Like many tests TSA performs at checkpoints around the country, we collected valuable data but, at this time, are no longer testing or instituting these procedures.” Inside Higher Ed reports that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has abandoned a program that required passengers to remove books from their carry-on luggage during security screenings. And we have just the reading recommendations for flying for you, too.
According to the Times, The Guardian and other sources, Things Fall Apart author Chinua Achebe has died. Last October, we published a review of his final book, There Was a Country, which you might want to reread as a first step to considering his legacy. (You could also check out our piece on Things Fall Apart.)