Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the famously reclusive Harper Lee, and with good reason – her long-awaited second book, Go Set A Watchman, was released last week, and isn’t quite what readers expected. Over at The Atlantic, Ari N. Schulman takes a slightly different approach to Lee and her work by focusing instead on Maurice Cain, Lee’s longtime agent, friend, and “co-conspirator.”
This week, New Directions offers up a collection that may offer some context to the Roberto Bolaño oeuvre. As the catalog copy suggests, “Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolaño wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues.” Also out: Library of America does Kurt Vonnegut with Novels & Stories, 1963-1973; The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, a political tome by playwright David Mamet; and Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman, the scientist and polymath who was recently profiled in the New Yorker.
“[E]ven though he was already sick with the illness that would eventually become the tuberculosis that killed him, Orwell left London to live on the Scottish island of Jura (off and on) for the next few years, where he could try to focus on writing fiction instead of journalism.” Nathan Gelgud creates a wonderful illustrated origin story of 1984 for Signature Reads. Pair with this piece on the fall (literally) of the ur-Orwellian home.
If Fantasy Football is football for people who don’t like dirt or concussions, here’s a Fantasy Football for people who don’t like football. Book Riot has the details, which involve tracking your favorite authors’ career highlights much like an athlete’s: “publishes a book,” sure, but also “appears in another author’s book trailer,” “fatwa issued against author,” and “dies.” Our own Edan Lepucki makes the Rookies bracket, but, please–no fatwas just to win.
If there existed a trophy for the ugliest-looking but prettiest-sounding language, then the 721,700 living Welsh speakers would boast more championships than Alabama’s football team. Yes, the Welsh. They of the villages Llangefni and Llanfairfechan. (To say nothing of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.) Wouldn’t it be a shame for such a language to disappear? For writing in this language to stop being published? Stanford’s Cynthia Haven thinks so.
Out this week: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub; Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips; The Gallery of Lost Species by Nina Berkhout; Robert Parris Moses by Laura Visser-Maessen; Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman; and The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.