Recommended Listening: Margaret Atwood on her new novel – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and the fall of realistic fiction. As she explains it, “when there’s perceived instability that’s happening you can’t write [a so-called realistic] novel and have people believe it.”
New this week: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Carnival by Rawi Hage, In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell, Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani, the collected letters of Italo Calvino, and the seventh issue of McSweeney’s food mag Lucky Peach.
We’ve been discussing the changing nature of the English language a lot here this week (from the rise of public English to the acceptance of “like”), but if there is one thing that’s consistent in language, it’s the word “huh.” Linguists have studied 31 languages that all contain the interjection, making it one of the first universal words.
Obama brings hope, change to the publishing industry.I hope that I shall never see / A book of Palin’s poetry.The Nation talks with the journalist who helped research 2666.Chuck Klosterman gets in the ring with Axl, Bucket and, uh…hey, man, remind me who else is in this band?How is a Snopes like a Lebowski? More Intelligent Life counts the ways.The new online magazine Flyp offers a “truly interactive” look at Jeffrey Eugenides.Ed and his doppelganger Bat have put together a three DVD set of the complete interviews of Bat Segundo, for sale now on the sidebar of the Bat site.The Quarterly Conversation issue 14 is now out, featuring considerations of Gaddis and Bukowski and an opportunity to win every single one of Roberto Bolaño’s works available in English.We were lucky enough to join some accomplished company in Blogs.com’s list of the 10 Best Literature Blogs, curated by Largehearted Boy.Speaking of Largehearted Boy, he has posted his top albums of 2008 list.The Bad Sex in Fiction Award announces its distinguished list of finalists. And the winner is Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award going to John Updike.The Washington Post profiles M.T. Anderson, the D.F. Wallace of Young Adult literature.And, following up on our Wallace Shawn posts, here’s audio of the man himself, reading James Comey’s testimony before Congress.
“Sitting there in my thrift-store jacket and boa with my legs spread, I was a study in cubism: lips mouthing well-bred earnest truisms about postcolonial theory, hand guiding their hand up under my skirt, it was, on a deep level, hilarious.” Chris Kraus writes about working New York’s topless hustle bars at n+1.
“You write to please yourself. You write for the joy of writing. … The enthusiasm, the joy itself draws me. So that means every day of my life I’ve written. When the joy stops, I’ll stop writing.” Recommended viewing: an animated interview with Ray Bradbury.