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.
“But the civil rights movement didn’t stop in Selma.” In a follow-up to March, his award-winning graphic novel trilogy, Congressman John Lewis will have a new series published later this year by Abrams ComicArt, according to Time. Run, which will also be a multi-book series, will pick up where March left off. Pair with: The Millions‘s review of March.
E-book pricing wars continue. Sony tries to hit the Kindle where it hurts by offering cheaper e-books. Meanwhile, $0 is becoming an important price point at the Kindle store.Sam Anderson hates Thomas Pynchon.An indie bookstore fan uses our bookstore tour as a jumping-off point for a literary day in Manhattan. You can too.
After moving to Brooklyn, Sabine Heinlein spent a year trying to learn English, a task which left the native German speaker “close to aphasic” after a few months. Eventually, she met up with another recent immigrant, who enlisted her for help in a sprawling art project: a collection of words from each language spoken in New York City. At The Hairpin, she writes about her experience.
Scientists confirmed recently that writers are more likely to struggle with mental illness (sometimes, as recently noted, due to syphilis). Since we’re so used to our alcoholic literary greats, and a smattering of suicidal ones (Plath, Woolf, Thompson, Wallace–and many more), this comes as no great surprise. On a happier note, a new study using fMRIs and MFA students has found that writers show different brain patterns than “normal people” just writing: in fact they resemble “expert” thinking patterns of all professionals doing what they’re best at–musicians, athletes, competitive Scrabble players. I don’t know if I’m happier to learn the fMRIs found no gaping black holes, or that MFAs do in fact teach you something.
The new year is, of course, a time for resolutions, and Electric Literature has collected literary resolutions from Alexander Chee, Year in Reading alum Emily Gould, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, and many more. Coming out of the hectic holiday season, Jonathan Lee‘s resolution seems particularly apt: “My literary new year’s resolution is to read slower. I want to try and re-discover the kind of reading where you savor every page instead of thinking about unread emails, progress through the book, progress through the to-be-read pile, and the quantity of remaining tea bags in cupboard.”
Before he was Michael Chabon the novelist he was Michael Chabon the punk musician. Now recordings of his work with The Bats are available online as part of Mind Cure Records archival series.
“Soon, the nail-biting hours of vote-counting start. For a Turkish citizen who does not support the AKP, casting your vote is the easy part of the process. The trickier task comes after that vote is stamped (to ensure it is real and valid): trying to make sure it is actually counted.” On a new book about Erdoğan’s Turkey.