“Like all great literature, [David Foster Wallace’s] books do many things at once. Litchat, however, is singleminded.” Laura Miller discusses “the perils of litchat” at The New Yorker and how it has affected the legacy of David Foster Wallace. For less litchat, read our review of The David Foster Wallace Reader.
Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith's satirical essay on the new literary movement "The Real Newism" at Hobart. "Did Virgil go to hell? No. Did Virginia Woolf go to Disney World? No, and it turns out that Orlando isn’t a place, but a dude. And did Truman Capote ever have breakfast at Tiffany’s? Yes, but the eggs Benedict was cold and the bloody marys were 'bullshit.'"
Much linked elsewhere, Triple Canopy has published the first complete English translation of the Roberto Bolano's 1999 speech accepting the Romulo Gallegos Prize.Keith Gessen of n+1 and All the Sad Young Literary Men has started a blog. People who like to make grand pronouncements about such things and/or snark about them are all aflutter. (via)Onward in snark, Tao Lin describes the "Levels of Greatness" for the American novelist. Spoiler alert: Philip Roth wins again. (via)Robert McCrum chronicles his ten years as The Observer's literary editor in ten chapters, from "Chapter 1: New Blood: Zadie Smith" to "Chapter 10: The Kindle."
New this week is George R.R. Martin's latest Song of Ice and Fire installment, A Dance with Dragons. Also hitting shelves: Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time and Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia (Don't miss our preview with tons more upcoming books.) Jesse Ball, whose The Curfew has just come out, also has a new collection, The Village on Horseback. Jennifer Weiner's new book, Then Came You, is out, as is the first issue of McSweeney's new food magazine, Lucky Peach. Out in paperback: Allegra Goodman's The Cookbook Collector.
"In the days after the procedure I was sometimes so exhausted by movement that I would wait patiently for someone to come in and give me a paper cup of pills that was almost, not quite, out of my reach. But somehow, I would always contrive to get my pen in my hand, however far it had rolled... When Virginia Woolf’s doctors forbade her to write, she obeyed them. Which makes me ask, what kind of wuss was Woolf?" Hilary Mantel writes a diary on hospitalization for the London Review of Books.
"I wanted to be really careful about not pretending to write The Transracial Adoptee’s Experience, because (1) there is no such thing, it’s going to be different for everyone, and (2) I feel strongly that those stories should be told by the adoptees themselves, if they choose to share them," Year in Reading alum Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, in conversation with Nicole Chung.