New this week: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood; Gold, Fame, Citrus, by Claire Vaye Watkins; Vertigo by Joanna Walsh; Syllabus of Errors by Troy Jollimore; The Good Story by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz; I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles; and The Complete Works of Primo Levi. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
The release date for Thomas Pynchon’s new novel is three weeks away, and to mark the occasion, Boris Kachka runs through a quick biography of the perpetually mysterious author. Among other things, Kachka points out that Pynchon resides in a fairly odd neighborhood for a recluse to choose to live in -- the Upper West Side. (Previously: "Thomas Pynchon to Publish New Novel" and "New Thomas Pynchon Teaser.")
Fanfiction has been gaining mainstream popularity and cultural heft - just take our own Elizabeth Minkel's Year in Reading post as evidence. For those of us with less experience in the fic community, Vulture has assembled a comprehensive "Guide to the Fanfiction Explosion," complete with infographics on Harry Styles fic, an explanation of why Annie Proulx isn't thrilled about Brokeback Mountain spinoffs, and, of course, a syllabus for further reading.
“I’m a total database nerd. In college I worked as a troubleshooter for a database of medical research, trying to predict and prevent mistakes in the data entry process to avoid screwing up the records. Is anything more satisfying than a successfully written query delivering precisely the required results? It’s so much more direct than writing fiction. A query either works or it doesn’t.” Steve Himmer’s Nervous Breakdown self-interview.
A group of Austrian artists aims to “reconfigure and recontextualize” a memorial to Austrian poet Josef Weinheber, who engaged in Nazi activities and wrote numerous pro-Hitler propaganda pieces. Michael Kaminer caught up with Eduard Freudmann, the leader of the Vienna-based push for recontextualization, who hopes to spark a debate “about how to proceed with the … artistic reconfiguration of a Nazi monument.”
Google put up a special Shakespeare page for easy access to all of his plays through Google Book Search. The Book Search blog has additional details.Latest literary trend story: senators writing books. "About 30 of the 100 currently serving U.S. senators have authored books at some point in their careers, and the number is growing."A literary trend story continues: Product placement in novels. Earlier instances include efforts from Ford and BMW.In the Guardian, "An American judge intervening in a long-simmering feud has ruled that the rights to John Steinbeck's most famous novels... should be seized from his publisher and handed to his descendants."And finally, there's Ed's Twenty-One More Reasons Why Litbloggers Are Evil & Unethical