“A novel is a trek home from the desert, sometimes a journey you wish you had never started. Exhausting and humbling, just occasionally wonderful. But a short story can come from a deeper part of the cave.” Jane Gardam on why she prefers writing short stories instead of novels in The Guardian. Pair with Lisa Peet’s essay on Gardam’s organically grown characters.
In October 2011, Hannah Gersen convincingly argued that the Occupy Wall Street protests bore more than a few similarities to Bartleby, The Scrivener. Now, amid the political demonstrations going on throughout Turkey, Millions contributor Kaya Genç draws a similar parallel between Istanbul’s “Standing Man” and Herman Melville’s famous protagonist.
The publishing industry is changing quickly, and Jellybooks is helping it happen. The company gives out free e-books to readers in exchange for their consent to track their reading habits. This data goes back to publishers to be used in the market. Our own Nick Moran asks if e-readers are as green as we think.
Laila Lalami recently wrote about “How History Becomes Story,” but writing an interesting and compelling history book sans fiction has its own challenges. Thankfully S.C. Gwynne offers some tips in a piece for the History News Network, including the hard-hitting reminder that “it is your job to force your facts into narrative form.”
For the theory-obsessed, soon-to-be liberal arts graduate on your list: the essential Verso Books undergraduate reading list.
Year in Reading alumnus Alexander Chee writes about the impulse to write fiction, his first novel, and unpublished manuscripts in an essay for the Center For Fiction’s Why Fiction Matters series. “The first story I ever invented for public consumption was in a book report back in grade school. I had made a vow to read every book in my grade school library, and at some point, as I made my way through them, I remember very clearly understanding that there was simply no way my teacher would know about every book ever published—this was before the Internet—and so I decided I would make one up and see if she noticed.” Pair with this Millions piece, featuring six writers looking back on their first novels.