Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal’s column for The New York Times debuted last week with her reflections on the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. As she puts it, “He is a spider of a writer: subtle and sly, patient, with invisible designs. He never proclaims — he never needs to. He envelops.” Pair with John Yargo’s Millions essay on Hrabal’s fiction.
We’ve all heard stories about fans who root through the trash of Hollywood celebrities. But what about those rare birds who root through the trash of famous authors? Herewith, Adrienne LaFrance relates the story of Paul Moran, a Salem, MA resident who picked through John Updike’s garbage. It’s probably a good time to read our review of Adam Begley’s biography of Updike.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel won one of the inaugural Indie Booksellers' Choice Awards yesterday for her novel The Singer’s Gun. The other honorees for this award, which was voted on by indie booksellers around the country, were Paolo Bacigalupi for The Windup Girl, Adam Levin for The Instructions, Karl Marlantes for Matterhorn, and Nina Revoyr for Wingshooters.
Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is probably the best-known recent example of a memoir that centers on a journey through a harsh landscape. There’s another one that deserves your attention, too -- Kathleen Winter’s Boundless, which tells the tale of the writer’s voyage through the icebound Northwest Passage. At The Guardian, a review of the memoir.
Following the news that The Simpsons will now be available for online streaming for the first time, Myles McNutt makes the case that the world needs a Simpsons Clip Database. He justifies his sentiment by pointing out that “in a world where Simpsons references are a language for a certain generation, the ability to stream this content has tremendous value, and could push use of an app that otherwise would struggle to compete with services like Netflix.”
It’s notoriously difficult to figure out how to make a living as a freelance writer. The process forces the writer to learn the finer points of negotiation. At the Ploughshares blog, Steph Auteri writes about the “abstract mathematics” of her freelance career, presenting a list of everything she considers before taking on an assignment. Pair with: our own Nick Ripatrazone on teaching the business of creative writing.