One thing that pretty much everyone can agree on is that Go Set a Watchman is a controversial book. Our own Michael Bourne said it “fails as a work of art in every way except as a corrective to the standard sentimental reading of Atticus Finch.” At Slate, Dan Kois, Meghan O’Rourke and Katy Waldman debate the main questions the novel raised.
Is hardcover the new vinyl? Over at The Literary Hub, Yahdon Israel argues for the irreplaceable magic of tactility and print books: “There’s something gratifying about being able to underline a sentence or write a response in the margin of a book, knowing with certainty that it will be there later. I can’t get that guarantee from a phone. My data could be hacked, a new upgrade could wipe its memory, my battery could die mid-sentence and cause me to lose everything I’ve typed. They say that what goes up into the Cloud must come down, but ‘they’ can’t always be trusted—least of all with the things I value most, my books.”
Writer Manjula Martin has been a stock girl, used bookseller, seamstress, waitress, retailer, Girl Friday- just to name a few of her day jobs. She questions the value of the artist’s day job in her VQR post. “Why are writers so eager to leave work behind?” she writes.
Speaking of France: whether or not you find him disagreeable, Michel Houellebecq is pretty much guaranteed to elicit an emotional response from readers. His new opinion piece in The New York Times is no different. Here’s a review of Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory that refers to him as a “petty misanthrope.”
“In this age of 140-character Twitter posts — not to mention a persistent undercurrent of minimalism in our literature — there’s something profoundly rejuvenating about the very long sentence.” From Hrabal to Joyce to Hugo, Ed Park explores the history of the literary long sentence.
He befriended Mark Twain. His father wrote The Scarlet Letter. He drank wine with Oscar Wilde, George Eliot and Henry James, and William Randolph Hearst once hired him as a reporter. He even published a few books to critical acclaim. So why do so few of us know anything about Julian Hawthorne? In the WaPo, Michael Dirda reviews a new biography. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)