“War isn’t a destination, nor is it a topic to be mined for scribes with nothing else to say … War can be a subject, like any other, and it can be written about well, and it can be written about poorly.” Here is Matt Gallagher, author of the Iraq-war novel Youngblood, in an interview with J.T. Price at Bomb. Last week, Gallagher interviewed another great young novelist/veteran (and winner of the 2014 National Book Award in fiction), Phil Klay.
W.W. Norton puts together a project similar to our Year in Reading (and with some participants in common): Writers Recommend.Another clever batch of recommendations: Village Voice asks several notables to recommend their favorite "obscure" books.Three Percent reveals its 25-book longlist for the "Best Translated Book of 2008" (Bonus Link: The Prizewinners: International Edition)A conversation with South African poet and anti-apartheid activist Breyten BreytenbachTodd Zuniga's (of Opium Magazine and Literary Death Match) "favorite writers we haven't heard of yet."Best book cover designs of the year. (via 3% and kottke)Maud reproduces the memo behind the huge reorganization at Random House (which itself is just one part of the belt tightening hitting the publishing industry in recent weeks.)
Do you need a pot of coffee before you dive into writing every day? You're just procrastinating and making yourself less creative. Writer Merrill Markoe did the same thing until she discovered that working right after she wakes up leads to the best creative writing. "Words come pouring out easily while my head still feels as if it is full of ground fog, wrapped in flannel and gauze, and surrounded by a hive of humming, velvety sleep bees."
“An artist you love occupies a weird in-between place, where they’re somehow a little more than a father, but a little less than a neighbour. They can permanently re-organize your consciousness but they can’t sell you a Coke. You feel you know them more than anyone you actually know, which means that you don’t really know a damn thing. I feel I know Elliott Smith, but if I picture him in front of me, I find myself picturing a tiny figurine, or Mount Rushmore.” Sasha Chapin has written an intensely personal essay about Elliott Smith for Hazlitt. Here is The Millions' own Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music column to satisfy any lingering musical urges.
Gearing up for his forthcoming retrospective at the Tate Modern, Damien Hirst told the Guardian that he "still believe[s] art is more powerful than money." This from the man whose tiger shark and formaldehyde sculpture "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" sold for $12 million-- the figure that Don Thompson reports in The $12 Million Stuffed Shark.
Here are some things about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle you can learn from this questionnaire: he used the word “ditto;” he reserved his greatest admiration for “men who do their duty without fuss;" and he seems to have been quite happy with being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.