“Home is the place where there is someone who does not wish you any pain.” Stop what you’re doing and go read this interview with Darryl Pinckney, author of Black Deutschland, over at The Rumpus. Here’s a great Millions essay on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, which serves as a sort of (misguided) guide map for the protagonist of Black Deutschland.
“It was spring. Byron was leaving England forever, a cloud of infamy hanging over him. (He is one of the few people you can write something like that about and have it be true; that is part of why he’s so satisfying.)” Via The Awl: the adventures of John Polidori, literary vampire and doctor to Lord Byron.
Sharpen your pencils freelance book reviewers: The Wall Street Journal plans to buck the trend of disappearing book review sections by launching a weekly pull-out. Robert Messenger will edit. The New York Observer takes note of the storylines in play: Rupert Murdoch once again bucking conventional wisdom, The WSJ trying to go head to head with The New York Times in yet another high-profile venue.
The book bloggers are all waiting for the announcement of the National Book Award winner, and I, too, have to wonder what will happen once we know the recipient of the award in the fiction category. These women have gotten a lot of grief from folks who think they shouldn’t be there. What I’m wondering is will the NY Times and all the rest end their crusade and graciously accept the winner, or will the winner, whoever she may be, have to bear more criticism on her own. We shall see. In the meantime I have dug up some old links that are, unlike all this NBA stuff, not very timely, but they are good, so I wanted to share them with you:First, take a look at Jonathan Yardley’s fantastic discussion of the American novels that are, to his mind, the best of the last 125 years. He calls it “State of the Art.”The discussion among my fellow book bloggers about the Paris Reviews magnificent decision to put all of their interviews online has got me thinking about the recently departed George Plimpton, which is why I was happy to find this wonderful interview that he conducted with Truman Capote about In Cold BloodFinally, there are two types of people in this world… well, not really, but in this post from earlier this year, Michael at 2Blowhards explains the difference between movie people and book people and a lively discussion follows.Well, that’s enough from the old bookmarks file. Expect more timely news sometime soon.
“If the sentences are meticulously made, I’ll read anything, whether it’s as destabilizing as a Gary Lutz short story or as melancholy as a Chris Ware comic. The only books I give up on are texts where the writer’s attention is concentrated so heavily on narrative questions that his or her use of language becomes careless.” Anthony Doerr, whose All The Light We Cannot See won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, discusses genre, Calvin and Hobbes, and the 2,080 books he still wants to read as part of the New York Times Book Review‘s By the Book series.
In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
The bookstore business is supposed to be dying, but Ann Patchett begs to differ. She discussed her independent shop, Parnassus Books, and the future of bookstores for The Daily Beast’s “How I Write” series. “I can’t remember the last time I was in a bad bookstore. The future of independent bookstores is strong. We need to be small. The day of the 30,000 square foot bookstore is over, but the day of the 3000 square foot bookstore has arrived.” Patchett was also interviewed for The New York Times “By the Book” series, where she said Charlotte’s Web had such an impact on her as a kid that she got a pet pig and became a vegetarian.