“I grew up hearing my father digging into words for images that will stretch the limits of life for my siblings and me. In my father’s mouth, bitter, rigid words become sweet and elastic like taffy candy. His poetry shields us from the poverty of our lives.” Kao Kalia Yang for The Literary Hub on learning to understand her blue-collar father as a legitimate literary force.
“We’re going to prove that I can sell more books than Amazon,” Stephen Colbert announced during his show this week. And he’s going to do it by encouraging his audience to purchase California, the new novel by Millions staffer Edan Lepucki. On his website, Colbert has partnered with beloved Portland-based indie Powell’s Books to offer not just Edan’s novel, but also a downloadable pack [PDF] of stickers proudly proclaiming “I DIDN’T BUY IT ON AMAZON.” (For your part, you can also order the book on Barnes and Noble, Word Brooklyn, or your local bookstore and the stickers will still apply.) (Bonus: You can read the first chapter of the book over here.)
“According to David Means and his debut novel, Hystopia, [classic war novels] aren’t simply about confronting the horrors of war, but also about concealing them, hiding them under a layer of rationalizations and wishful thinking that often simplifies their lawless anarchy and finds sense, meaning and purpose where there’s little.” Over at Electric Lit, Simon Chandler reviews David Means’s Hystopia.
Harold Bloom turns eighty-five this year, which makes it all the more impressive that his forty-fifth book, The Daemon Knows, comes out this week. At Vulture, Amy Bloom (no relation) has tea and scones with the Yale professor, who talks about Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and why a critic called his new book “an invectorium.” You could also read Matt Hanson on his last volume of criticism.
Spotted on the streets of New York: a casting call for a “10-13 year old Caucasian male” to play protagonist Oskar Schell in Stephen Daldry‘s upcoming film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer‘s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Notable Goyim Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are attached to the project, as Oskar’s parents.
Are critically acclaimed authors really terrible? Is feminism bad for women? New York Magazine runs down the greatest hits of what appears, in hindsight, to have been the Decade of Counterintuition (and, in the process, catalogues many of my personal bêtes noires).