“As adults, we should hold each other’s work to high standards, and our own work to the highest of all. As writers, we shouldn’t settle for a single pale line. But before the poem is written, I say, we should lie to ourselves, the way we lied to that winded child. Before composition, we have to be gods.” Alex Chertok writes about literary pep talks for the Ploughshares blog.
Out this week: Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran; A Mother’s Tale by Phillip Lopate; Huck Out West by Robert Coover; Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin; The Midnight Cool by Lydia Peelle; The Antiques by Kris D'Agostino; Lotus by Lijia Zhang; and Collected Stories by E.L. Doctorow. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest book preview.
South Floridian bandits, fishermen, drunks, madmen, and college students are mourning the imminent demise of beloved Miami institution, Jimbo's. The site of the "Who Lets The Dogs Out" video, the Flipper movie starring Elijah Wood, and a couple iterations of the now-defunct Swampstomp music festival, Jimbo's defied summation. Put simply, you had to see it yourself. The way I always explained it to my friends up North was by telling them it was like The Rum Diary met CBGB's and Will Smith's "Miami" video. Still, even that's insufficient, so I recommend reading the Miami New Times' epic chronicle of the place's history.
Following last year’s Pulitzer Prize, which Donna Tartt won for her first novel in eleven years, it means something when a critic draws a favorable comparison between The Goldfinch and a new book. For Laura Miller, though, it’s a natural reaction to the latest from Sarah Waters, which seems poised to “scratch the same big-novel itch” as Tartt’s novel did last year. (FYI, Sarah Waters wrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)
This holiday season may set a record for gift returns, and perhaps that's understandable given the economy. But what does it mean if you simply abandon your things instead? A recent survey by Virgin Atlantic reveals which books are most frequently left behind by their passengers, and it raises that very question.