“I’m writing about people. Man involved in the human dilemma, facing the problems bigger than he, whether he licks them or whether they lick him. But man as frail and fragile as he is, yet he will keep on trying to be brave and honest and compassionate, and that, to me, is very fine and very interesting — and that is the reason I think any writer writes.” William Faulkner on why writers write in a rare recording from the University of Virginia, via Brain Pickings.
It’s common for descriptions of James Joyce’s Dubliners to label its stories portraits of Irish life. If you’d like to look at actual portraits of Irish life in 1904, however, you could do a lot worse than this series of old photos of Dublin, available online courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute.
"A funny thing happened when Howard Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize last Tuesday... a smattering of people who were not even related to Mr. Jacobson stood and cheered." A profile of the new Booker winner and an exploration of his winning book, The Finkler Question, in the New York Times.
The Atlantic has a great list up: "10 Essential Books for Thought-Provoking Summer Reading," including The Late American Novel.
At Big Other, Greg Gerke reads William H. Gass's The Tunnel and looks at language, the controversy over the book, and how the vulgar and the beautiful relate.
"I don’t want to settle for distraction; I want to look forward to reading my book with the palpitating excitement of a second date with someone I’ve already fallen for. I want to miss my stop. Ideally, I’ll miss a few." While it can be easy to spot a beach, airplane, or cabin read, Adam Sternbergh's writes about finding the perfect "subway read" for the New York Times. From our archives: our own Nick Ripatrazone's essay on reading and writing on trains.