Recommended Reading: Sadie Stein on a teen reading Sartre.
Booksellers across the country have loaded up dollies with towers of boxes and carted them to the front of the store. Amazon has broken into its super-secret, double-locked, chain-link fence. Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is here. Understandably, other publishers have ceded this Tuesday almost entirely to the Dan Brown hype machine, but those looking for something (very) different can today find Joyce Carol Oates doing the zombie thing (not really) and the latest from Tao Lin.
This graphic account of the uncomfortable on-stage conversation between Roxane Gay and Erica Jong at this year’s Decatur Book Festival comes from MariNaomi over at Electric Literature. Here are a few essays from The Millions that also deal with race, fatherhood, and fiction.
"Baker is such a wonderful prose stylist that he could probably get away with publishing his diary—which, for epic stretches, is what Substitute feels like." Over at The Nation, Evan Kindley reviews Nicholson Baker's latest, a 700-plus-page non-fiction exploration of substitute teaching. Spoiler: it's not as sexy as Baker's other work. If it's the sex you want, see our primer on Baker's novels; also immensely entertaining, our interview with the author from 2013.
“Trump has blocked me from reading his tweets. I may have to kill myself.” Stephen King responds to news that the U.S. President doesn't want the author reading his Twitter account. Luckily, reports Entertainment Weekly, J.K. Rowling has stepped in, offering to DM King anything he misses (these are all sentences we regret having to write, fyi). See also: Elizabeth Minkel's consideration of Rowling's second narrative thoughts.
"Tarzan know, Tarzan know: 'Mood? Me want to write like Warren Buffett. Mood — that for house DJ or Al Green.'" Here is Tarzan's Guide to Elliptical Style For Effective Business Writing from the good people over at McSweeney's.
This week Margaret Atwood tweeted a photo of her and Alice Munro drinking champagne in a "secret lair." There's no denying it — technology has changed the way we tell stories. Atwood and 16 other writers, from Victor LaValle to Lee Child, discussed how technology influences their work in The New York Times. "There’s nothing worse for plots than cellphones. Once your characters have one, there’s no reason for them to get lost or stranded," Rainbow Rowell said.
Wallace Shawn has written a new play, and it's unsettling to watch. In it, a group of wealthy, middle-aged party hosts reveal their roles in a dystopian future, where political murders, random beatings and censorship are all commonplace. In an essay for The New York Review of Books, Francine Prose reviews the play in the context of Shawn's other works.