Could “cozy literary fiction” ever be a thing? Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has penned a passionate defense of the unintentionally hilarious “cozy mystery” genre. Sate your mystery fix with this essay from The Millions’ own Matt Seidel on the four ways to wrap up a mystery tale.
Today is Herman Melville‘s birthday. This October, Tin House will be releasing Matt Kish‘s Moby-Dick In Pictures. Kish began illustrating Melville’s masterpiece in 2009 by “creating images based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition.” You can preview some of the work on the book’s designated Twitter account.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the NFL’s unofficial librarian. According to his teammates, Luck is a voracious reader who regularly recommends books in the locker room. The genre is unimportant; Luck reads everything from books on concrete architecture to Love Life by Rob Lowe. Where is the Football Book Club when you need them?
The Guardian‘s Books Blog is hosting a tournament to determine “The Great American Novelist,” and the list of the final 32 seeded contenders, as voted by the site’s readers, is enough to raise some eyebrows—not as much for who did make the cut as for who didn’t. Guardian readers, haven’t you heard of Richard Yates?
“I’m trying to think of something really suitable to say. What do you think I should say? Look, you tell me what to say and I’ll say it.” That was Doris Lessing, who found out she’d won the Nobel Prize from a group of journalists who surrounded her when she was exiting a taxi. NPR has that great audio, plus other reactions of former Nobel literature laureates, including Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Our own fearless editor-in-chief, Lydia Kiesling, admires Lessing, but felt rather differently about reading one of her most famous works, The Golden Notebook: “Among other things, she did an uncanny job of creating a malaise that was actually infectious. It oozed right off the page and into my own spirit.”
Does modern China need its own literary sub-genre? On trying to understand China’s “ultra-unreal” reality: “If Magic Realism was the way in which Latin American authors presented their view of their reality, then Ultra-Unreal Realism should be our name for the literature through which the Chinese regard their reality. The Chinese word ‘chaohuan’ (ultra-unreal) is something of a play on the word ‘mohuan’ (magic), as in ‘mohuan xianshizhuyi’ (magic realism)— ‘mohuan’ is ‘magical unreal,’ and ‘chaohuan’ is ‘surpassing the unreal.’”