Serious reading is harder than ever. With so many distractions around, it’s incredibly difficult for a novel to keep our attention. In The Nation, Joanna Scott makes a case that careful reading is in danger, and builds a case for preserving difficult fiction. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on trying to teach Thomas Pynchon.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn a new language to read the new Haruki Murakami book. Last week, our own Nick Moran wondered when Murakami’s latest would be getting an English translation. Knopf Doubleday publicity director Paul Bogaards revealed it should be out by 2014.
“The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of ‘imaginative power,’ and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.” Jonathan Sturgeon in The Baffler on American exceptionalism and “the imperial self” in fiction, with particular attention paid to the work of two other Jonathans, Franzen and Safran Foer.
“I should probably write a few words about 2015, but the year is stale now, rung out like a damp dish rag and left to dry in the cold, dour winds of some rundown burg blasted off the map by poverty and overcast. 2015 has been recorded, logged, and filed away as History, and as an American, I abide by my country’s allergy to revisiting History.” Catapult’s Mensah Demary on the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.
“Imaginary Oklahoma” is an ongoing platform at This Land Press in which “some of today’s most important and influential writers combine with artists from outside the state [of Oklahoma] to provide a fictional take on this place we call home.” New Yorker editor, author of Celebrity Chekhov, and chart enthusiast Ben Greenman has written a piece entitled “Always and Forever.”
Nabokov once described himself “as American as April in Arizona,” which is an odd thing to call yourself when you’re a lepidopterist Russian expat. In Nabokov in America, Robert Roper explores why Nabokov felt he was so American, and how his journey to that identity influenced his writing of Lolita. At The Literary Review, Ian Sansom reviews Roper’s book.