Recommended (Long) Reading: This lengthy excerpt from the latest book in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series. In it, Knausgaard is introduced to the literary world and stresses a great deal over his own claims to artistic merit: “Deep down, I was decent and proper, a goody-goody, and, I thought, perhaps that was also why I couldn’t write. I wasn’t wild enough, not artistic enough, in short, much too normal for my writing to take off. What had made me believe anything else? Oh, but this was the life-lie.”
Much linked elsewhere, Triple Canopy has published the first complete English translation of the Roberto Bolano's 1999 speech accepting the Romulo Gallegos Prize.Keith Gessen of n+1 and All the Sad Young Literary Men has started a blog. People who like to make grand pronouncements about such things and/or snark about them are all aflutter. (via)Onward in snark, Tao Lin describes the "Levels of Greatness" for the American novelist. Spoiler alert: Philip Roth wins again. (via)Robert McCrum chronicles his ten years as The Observer's literary editor in ten chapters, from "Chapter 1: New Blood: Zadie Smith" to "Chapter 10: The Kindle."
New this week is George R.R. Martin's latest Song of Ice and Fire installment, A Dance with Dragons. Also hitting shelves: Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time and Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia (Don't miss our preview with tons more upcoming books.) Jesse Ball, whose The Curfew has just come out, also has a new collection, The Village on Horseback. Jennifer Weiner's new book, Then Came You, is out, as is the first issue of McSweeney's new food magazine, Lucky Peach. Out in paperback: Allegra Goodman's The Cookbook Collector.
The "Millennials are ruining everything" think piece has become a bit of a trope at this point, so it's refreshing when you find one that says something new. This piece on the serious danger of losing serious readers to their cellphone screens is well worth the read.
This list of the ten best weather events in fiction history includes, among other things, the mud in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and the fraught weather forecast from Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. Let’s talk a little bit more about weather with this review from The Millions.
“What traits make Austen special, and can they be measured with data? Can literary genius be graphed?” The New York Times tackles the question of why, 200 years after her death, Jane Austen is still so popular. (One finding: the author“used intensifying words — like very, much, so — at a higher rate than other writers.") See also: our interview with Curtis Sittenfeld, whose most-recent novel Eligible is the ultimate literary tribute, an adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.