Recommended Reading: This Atlantic article on the life of Henning Mankell, author of the Kurt Wallander series. The author said, “When I write, I always try to reflect the reality we live in, a reality that is becoming rougher and more violent. This violence and its impact on people around it is what I try to reflect in Wallander. But reality always surpasses the poem.”
At The Rumpus, Catherine Brady interviews Daniel Alarcón, who recently came out with a new novel. Alarcón talks about his love of Roberto Bolaño and the paradox of writing about prison, among other things. (You could also read Jeff Peer’s review of the author’s new book.)
Pacific Standards profiles Ken Layne who quietly started the popular quarterly literary magazine, Desert Oracle for a town of 8,000 people. Now it has gained far more readers than that as it highlights works related to the American desert. “The reason that the Oracle works is that it’s always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it’s not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It’s a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has.”
“You’ll engage with your advisor in a free-form dialogue about essential skills such as plotting your next career, pacing your financial ruin, structuring TV binge-watching during optimal writing hours, and characterizing all of this as ‘learning how to fail.'” Hey, this new low-competency MFA from the fictitious Half Mast College sounds pretty great. Here’s our own Hannah Gersen on why she has foregone the MFA route entirely.
Booksellers across the country have loaded up dollies with towers of boxes and carted them to the front of the store. Amazon has broken into its super-secret, double-locked, chain-link fence. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is here. Understandably, other publishers have ceded this Tuesday almost entirely to the Dan Brown hype machine, but those looking for something (very) different can today find Joyce Carol Oates doing the zombie thing (not really) and the latest from Tao Lin.