“Marlon James’s management of the voice and the paragraph isn’t what you’d call unpretty, and he’s good at having it both ways on a larger scale too. Reptilian black-ops masterminds out of a Robert Stone novel as well as bumbling CIA bureaucrats, baroque deaths in the bush and casual killings by the side of the road, historical and magic realism, sex and violence and a more ‘sophisticated kind of art’: the guy’s got it all.” This review of James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings from The London Review of Books is well worth the read.
Check out this interview with Andi Zeisler, author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. “Capitalism, ultimately, it’s not about equality, it’s not about social justice. It doesn’t care about fixing fundamentally unequal systems that impact humans on an everyday level. Critical thinking is the really important skill, to [ask], does it seem like this is a company or a brand that really cares about women?” Our own Edan Lepucki’s piece on feminist anthems complements the interview nicely.
The Poetry Archive: “The Poetry Archive is the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work. You can enjoy listening here, free of charge, to the voices of contemporary English-language poets and of poets from the past.”A few days ago the New York Times released its usual 100 book “Notable” list, but now we get the really good stuff: the Times top ten of the year. The big surprise: an appearance by Curtis Sittenfeld’s “calm and memorably incisive first novel,” Prep.Scott and Ed and others have already noted this, but I just got around to reading it: the NYRB piece on our latest National Book Award winner, William T. Vollmann.Also noted by many litblogs, the ever-multitasking Bud has launched a sleek litblog network/aggregator/community: MetaxuCafe. Very cool.
Random House announced today that a never-before-published Dr. Seuss book titled What Pet Should I Get? will appear on bookshelves this July. The book, a spinoff of Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, centers on two young children attempting to choose a pet. Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, discovered the manuscript in 2013.
One of the more common questions that comes up in The Nervous Breakdown’s self-interviews is what the subjects consider to be the hardest part of the writing life. The most recent edition sees Jac Jemc, whose latest came out last week, admit that time is what foils her: “Everything takes longer than I think it will, more drafts than I think it will.” This might be a good time to look back on some earlier examples of the form.
New this week: A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem; The Fall Guy by James Lasdun; No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa; Mister Monkey by Francine Prose; The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa; Truevine by Beth Macy; Love for Sale by David Hajdu; and The Loved Ones by our own Sonya Chung. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.