Over at ZYZZYVA, Christian Kiefer talks to playwright Octavio Solis and novelist Scott Hutchins about the craft of writing and the difference between writing plays and writing novels. “It takes a huge amount of hard labor, man, to harness the forces that we are using to make our stories. They may emerge whole cloth out of our need to know how we operate as humans, but they’re often clumsy unfinished beasts.” Kiefer’s new novel, The Animals, is one of the most anticipated books of 2015.
Out today are Me and the Devil by Nick Tosches; Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago; Climates, a newly translated novel from 1928 by French writer Andre Maurois; Spilt Milk by Brazilian writer Chico Buarque; and Alan Light’s The Holy or the Broken about a Leonard Cohen song that Jeff Buckley made famous.
At the Guardian, Brian Dillon writes about great creative minds who had fertile imaginations for the maladies that befell them.
“It may be true… that the internet will turn out to be ‘a giant empathy machine.’ And yet, as any reader knows, we’ve already had one for centuries.” Drew Calvert reviews The Novel: A Biography for the Los Angeles Review of Books and provides an argument for the novel in the digital age.
What’s it like to win the Literary Review‘s Bad Sex award? As 2010 “winner” Rowan Somerville reports, “It’s a hard pill to swallow … Despite the magazine’s assertion that ‘it’s only a bit of fun’ there’s an atmosphere of bullying peculiar to public schools about the whole thing.”
Poet and essayist Adrienne Rich passed way this afternoon at the age of 82, the LA Times confirms. Her influence on writing and activism is immeasurable, and this is a sad day of all of literature. The Poetry Foundation’s short biography of the poet is not to be missed, and nor are her poems “Final Notions,” and “For the Dead.”
“I started zoning out a little. My eyes drifted over toward my cat. Mr. Patterson pulled me right back in by saying, ‘Once you have the outline, start writing dude, you’re ready.’ It was that dude that woke me.” At The Awl, Patrick Hoffman reviews James Patterson’s MasterClass on writing. Pair with Bill Morris‘s account of losing his Pattersonian virginity at 32,000 feet.