“What a horrible silent noisy people they are … My feeling toward those mice is flat-out fear. It has to do with the unexpected, unbidden, unavoidable, virtually silent, persistent, ulteriorly motivated appearance of these animals.” It looks like Franz Kafka really didn’t like mice. Reiner Stach, author of the definitive two-part biography of Kafka (The Decisive Years and The Years of Insight) has released a new book of Kafka ephemera called Is That Kafka? 99 Finds full of fascinating facts that never found a place in the biographies at large. This Millions review of Stach’s biographies might also suit your Kafka fancy.
Last semester, at UC Riverside, the novelist Susan Straight began the class “Mixed-Race Literature and the American Experience” with a simple question: “How many of you are often asked, What are you?” In an essay about the class, she relates what they learned, which includes the observation that hair is weirdly important in America. (Related: The Millions published an essay by Straight on Toni Morrison’s Sula.)
The second time Eudora Welty met William Faulkner, the latter brought the former out on a ride in his boat. She wrote a letter to Jean Stafford in 1949 that described the experience in entertaining detail. At The Paris Review Daily, you can read the letter in full. Pair with: James McWilliams on Faulkner’s novel The Reivers.
Earlier this month, Jack Daniel’s wrote Patrick Wensink a cease-and-desist order because the cover of Wensink’s latest novel, Broken Piano For President, bears a striking resemblance to the whisky’s logo. Surprisingly, instead of some whisky-soaked tirade, the letter is really, really nice.