Ilan Stavans’s introduction to the quadricentennial edition of Don Quixote is available on the Literary Hub website. As he explains it, the narrative is both baffling and perfect: “What I like most about Don Quixote is its imperfection. I wasn’t wrong in my teens about the sloppiness of the writing; it is just that my attitude was too pedantic. It is, unquestionably, a defective narrative. Cervantes is often criticized as a numb and careless stylist.”
Late November brings work of another favorite Madrileño to the forefront. The final book of Javier Marías‘s Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, Poison, Shadow, and Farewell, will be published at the end of the month by New Directions. The incomparable Marias will make two New York appearances, a reading at the 92nd St Y (with Paul Auster) and a conversation with Paul Holdengräber at the New York Public Library.
Out this week: Devil on the Cross by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o; Void Star by Zachary Mason; Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard; Double Bind, edited by Robin Romm; Often I Am Happy by Jens Christian Grøndahl; and Cave Dwellers by Richard Grant. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“None of us made love, we had only reproaches for one another. I hated that dependency and yet I couldn’t live without it.” This short piece by Mercè Rodoreda from the new issue of Harper’s Magazine is brutal and surprising. The piece is an excerpt from Rodoreda’s War, So Much War, out later this month.
I’ve written before about Matthew Jockers‘s claim, as reported and presented by the Paris Review, that there are only about 6 plots in fiction. Now Dan Piepenbring returns to the Review to respond to critics who and attempt to answer the questions “is it really possible to assign every word a reliable emotional valence? And even if the answer is yes, can we really claim that all the plots in the history of literature take so few basic forms?”
America’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, is closing on May 17. The Philadelphia staple is shutting its doors after four decades due to the owner’s retirement and financial problems. At Salon, Steve Berman remembers the store and discusses how its closure will affect the publishing and LGBT community. “So LGBT books are forced to the edges, to the shadows, despite claims of assimilation. Gay authors have to do more and more marketing to find readers. Gay publishers have to struggle with shrinking venues to showcase their titles.”
Like writing personal essays? Want to get one published on The Hairpin? Sign up for the Skillshare class Writing Personal Essays that Get Read (taught by Friendship author and Year in Reading alum Emily Gould) and you might have your essay chosen for a feature on the site. The class is included with Skillshare membership ($10 per month). Better yet: the first 50 readers of The Millions to click here can sign up for free.
A new, annotated edition of Mein Kampf is slated for release sometime next week, and it’s already poised to be a bestseller in Germany. The edition, which aims to “unmask his false allegations, whitewashing and outright lies,” will debut at number 20 on the bestseller list after increased demand bumped the initial print run up to 15,000 copies.