When you think “Franz Kafka,” it typically isn’t his sunny disposition that comes to mind. According to Reiner Stach, this new collection of ephemera, however, seeks to challenge the tired, old conception of Kafka-as-tortured neurotic. Here’s a Millions review of Stach’s twin biographies of Kafka, himself.
“I’m writing about people. Man involved in the human dilemma, facing the problems bigger than he, whether he licks them or whether they lick him. But man as frail and fragile as he is, yet he will keep on trying to be brave and honest and compassionate, and that, to me, is very fine and very interesting — and that is the reason I think any writer writes.” William Faulkner on why writers write in a rare recording from the University of Virginia, via Brain Pickings.
Hot new online magazine Full Stop has chosen The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books as its inaugural book club selection. The discussion will be happening all this week.
“Trusting the literary press and the mechanisms of the market to curate the books we read and study is to hand over whole regions of literary curiosity and judgment before one even picks up a book.” On refusing to read. We’re not prepared to go quite that far, instead preferring our own Sonya Chung‘s practice of not finishing books.
“Imagination for me has always been about the spaces in between, a sort of filler that completes a picture. If what we know is the jaggedness of the ocean floor, then imagination is the body of water that defines what is hidden and what is seen.” This essay on interstices and representing Hawai’i Creole English as a legitimate literary participant is excellent.
Out this week: A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin; Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma; Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka; Hide by Matthew Griffin; The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy; Why They Run The Way They Do by Susan Perabo; We’ve Already Gone This Far by Patrick Dacey; and Perfect Days by Raphael Montes. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.