Among this week’s new books we have The Twelve by Justin Cronin (our review), The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski (our interview), The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira by César Aira (our review), and Zoo Time by past Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson. In non-fiction, Mark Bowden has penned an account of the killing of bin Laden.
In the 1880s, a group of rural Illinoisans formed a Christian sect that believed that a local woman, Dorinda Beekman, was the new Jesus Christ. When Mrs. Beekman died, a follower of hers claimed that her spirit lived inside him; as the new leader of the sect, he moved his followers into a barn and named it Heaven. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Visel looks back on this odd chapter of history, as well as the novel it inspired. (Related: Eric Shonkwiler on the literature of the Midwest.)
Poet Aaron Belz posted the following ad on Craigslist: “Poet available to begin work immediately. Capable in rhyme and meter, fluent in traditional and contemporary forms. Quotidian observations available at standard rate of $15/hour; occasional verse at slightly higher rate of $17/hour. Incomprehensible garbage $25/hour. Angst extra.” It worked. So far he’s written insults and responses to Aubrey Plaza. At The Atlantic, Micah Mattix wonders if this is a new marketing model for artists.
There’s been a lot of digital ink spilled about the traumas lurking in the comment section. It’s almost a rite of passage to get abused for something you write. But there’s another kind of trauma — what happens when you get no comments at all? At The Rumpus, Rachel Newcombe writes about a new kind of emptiness.
“There’s something about shopping for books where you’re open for anything. You’re faced with a wall of books, and you don’t know anything about most of them. At some point, it’s just you and the poems.” Carl Adamshick talks with the Los Angeles Review of Books about Powell’s and the “bookstore MFA.” Pair with our own Janet Potter‘s essay on loving bookshops.