“Rather than presenting a single, definitive story—an ostensibly objective chronicle of events—these books offer a past of competing perspectives, of multiple voices. They are not so much historical as archival: instead of giving us the imagined experience of an event, they offer the ambiguous traces that such events leave behind.” On the role of realist historical fictions.
From 1916 to 1925, the University of Mississippi paid William Faulkner for drawings he published in the school newspaper, Ole Miss. At Open Culture, you can see some of these drawings, which struck this writer as peculiarly un-Faulknerian. (Related: our own Nick Moran found recordings of Faulkner on the University of Virginia website.) (h/t The Paris Review)
“I don’t try to deliver a message, teach, inform or ‘give back’ in my books. I simply want to tell a story. My writing is totally separated from my activism and social service, which are channeled through my Foundation.” Megan Bradshaw interviews Isabel Allende for Asymptote Journal.
“I could measure my progress with metrics like number of scabs collected, number of inches ollied,” writes Nick Courage, in his great piece about rediscovering skateboarding in his thirties. “There was an objective truth to the sport; unlike my writing, my powerslides were self-validating.”
Azadeh Moaveni writes about what it was like to own her dog, named London, in Iran: “Most Turks, like most Iranians, recoiled from dogs as though they were grotesque vermin; only ‘guard’ dogs, charged with protecting humans and their goods, were deemed less offensive, though still repellent.” To Moaveni, it was like cultural rebellion.
London is the most popular literary city. Graphic designer Edgard Barbosa made an infographic that visualizes the number of English-language books written about 10 international cities from 1800 to 2000. The locales include Rome, New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid, Beijing, Chicago, Cairo, and Mumbai.