Recommended Reading: Marilynne Robinson on the functions of fear and Christianity in America in The New York Review of Books. You could also check out Alex Engebretson’s essay comparing Robinson’s Housekeeping to the Gilead novels.
The Wall Street Journal sent Geoff Dyer a bottle of El Segundo Brewing Company’s Blue House Citra Pale ale, and asked him to write about it. Because he’s Geoff Dyer, and there isn’t a topic (e.g. aircraft carriers, photography) on Earth that he can’t write about, he of course obliged.
Recommended Listening: Margaret Atwood on her new novel – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and the fall of realistic fiction. As she explains it, “when there’s perceived instability that’s happening you can’t write [a so-called realistic] novel and have people believe it.”
Not everyone is a fan of Haruki Murakami’s latest short story, “Drive My Car.” Residents of Nakatonbetsu, Japan claim Murakami sullied its reputation when he suggested that residents throw cigarettes from car windows. The offending passage reads: “Probably this is something everyone in Nakatonbetsu commonly does,” a character thinks when he tosses his lit cigarette out. Hopefully, the smoke clears soon.
In 1913, four years before the Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II made the now-baffling claim that a writer named Teffi was the only major Russian writer. At the time, however, his endorsement made sense, because everybody in Russia, from royalty on down, read Teffi’s work and “delighted” in it. Until the revolution, at which point she was consigned to oblivion. William Grimes writes about a new collection of her stories.