"Gobble a lot of fiction very quickly and you soon find yourself suffering from the literary equivalent of a food intolerance. Oh no, you think, not another novel about X or Y. At these moments, only one thing keeps you going: the faint hope that the book in question might turn out to be the greatest novel ever written about X or Y." Rachel Cooke writes for The Guardian about reading 80 books in four months and the process of judging the Folio prize.
"Her only 'crime' has been that she has used her 'freedom of speech' to attract attention to injustice, because her conscience will not allow her to remain silent." A campaign calls for the release of Aslı Erdoğan, an acclaimed Turkish novelist currently being held by her government on nebulous charges. Also did you know: our own editor-in-chief, Lydia Kiesling, speaks Turkish?
"The story that Lee’s book tells (or tries to tell, because much evidence has been obscured or lost) is not about patience on a monument but about talent buried under a heavy plinth, and discovered only just in time—the late achievement less a measured distillation than a lifesaving decoction." James Wood reviews Hermione Lee's new biography of novelist Penelope Fitzgerald for The New Yorker. Pair with Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin's Millions essay on the new age of biography.
"It all started with A Is For Alibi, then came B Is For Burglar, C Is For Corpse and on and on through the alphabet." NPR interviews Sue Grafton about her Kinsey Millhone series, currently spanning 25 letters – the newest and penultimate entry, Y for Yesterday, comes out today – and 35 years. Pair with Ujala Sehgal's list of five crime novels where women are the true detectives.
Year in Reading alumna Porochista Khakpour has a stunning new story in Bennington Review. She writes, “I had made a point of trying to learn the names of everyone in my department, after my previous department chair at my last VAP job advised ‘best way to make a best impression is know every name of professor and student alike.’” For more of her writing, check out her Millions piece on George Saunders.