“When the French would go to serve, they often said, Tenez!, the French word for ‘take it,’ meaning ‘coming at you, heads up.’ We preserve this custom of warning the opponent in our less lyrical way by stating the score just before we toss up the ball. It was the Italians who, having overheard the French make these sounds, began calling the game ‘ten-ez’ by association. A lovely detail in that it suggests a scene, a Florentine ear at the fence or entryway, listening.” Whether it’s David Foster Wallace or John Jeremiah Sullivan writing about tennis, I’m reading it. Another three-namer, Jonathan Russell Clark, reviewed The David Foster Wallace Reader for The Millions.
It’s an age-old question for writers and thinkers: how do you quiet the noise of your thoughts? In Aeon Magazine, Tim Parks wonders if it’s even possible to silence internal monologues -- and, if it is, whether that silence means losing sight of our identities. (Related: our own Mark O'Connell reviewed Parks's latest book.)
Three Guys One Book takes an early look at The Late American Novel (co-edited by yours truly and featuring three Millions writers as well as a number of other literary luminaries) and sees it as a great introduction to a whole group of exciting writers. The book has been spotted on shelves in the wild, and we'll be updating news about the book here. (Readers can also follow the book's official Facebook page to keep up on events, reviews and other goodies.)
The New York Times is broadening its book coverage by adding more staffers and launching three new features: a literary advice column, a weekly Q&A about writing processes, and a column looking at “contemporary issues through the lens of recent and historical books.”
The Toast is nearing the end of its long, hilarious run. Hurry up and check out the new pieces while you still can -- like this helpful guide as to whether or not you are in a Regency-era novel written after the end of the Regency, full of dead giveaways like: "There is lace at your throat and wrists and disdain in your eyes and heart."