New this week is Jonathan Evison’s West of Here, Joyce Carol Oates’ memoir A Widow’s Story about the death of her husband (this was the source of her recent, quite moving essay in the New Yorker), and the expanded rerelease of Alexander Theroux’s The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Also new on shelves from NYRB Classics is Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane, with an introduction by Phillip Lopate, who discussed Fontane in our Year in Reading in December.
The London Review of Books Blog reports that the personal library of late novelist David Markson has been scattered among the stacks at New York’s Strand bookstore, filled with notes, check marks and underlined passages. Some comments found scrawled in his copy of DeLillo’s White Noise: “oh god the pomposity, the bullshit!” and “oh i get it, it’s a sci-fi novel!”
There are plenty of reading apps out there, but a company called Rooster has released another, this one designed to “allow users to consume bite-sized pieces of highly curated fiction” whenever they have a few spare moments. In an interview with BookBusiness, Yael Goldstein Love, the editorial director of the project, described Rooster as aiming “to bring immersive reading, particularly fiction reading, back into busy peoples’ lives.” It’s difficult to know how to feel about this. Of course we think busy people should read good fiction, but is this just a precursor to the inevitable change of literature in the face of growing technology and shortened attention spans?
We’ve published a fair number of articles on the issue of finance and employment in a writer’s life. In general, writers assume that the ideal source of income, at least as far as it concerns their own careers, is one that leaves them free of worries and blessed with ample time. In the latest Bookends, Mohsin Hamid and Rivka Galchen tackle a more existential question — do money woes inspire writers to greater heights of creativity?