“Melville fell in love with the dashingly handsome older author the first time they met, and his forbidden passion drove him to create the symbol of impossible longing that now represents American literature to the rest of the world: the white whale.” On Herman Melville’s love for Nathaniel Hawthorne. Pair with a review of Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun.
Once a decade, Granta publishes a special “Best of Young American Novelists” issue featuring work from American fiction writers under the age of forty. The latest list includes Millions staffer and City on Fire author Garth Risk Hallberg, as well as Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Claire Vaye Watkins, to name just a few. The issue will hit shelves on May 4th.
At McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a disgruntled Laura Jayne Martin rants about why she is tired of sharing an apartment with poet William Carlos Williams.
Have you ever wondered how memoirists remember their childhoods so well when we can barely remember what we ate for breakfast this morning? Although losing your earliest memories is a common phenomenon called childhood amnesia, we're more likely to remember childhood if we fashion it into a story.
“Literature can use secrecy as a device to ensnare readers, to pull the wool over their eyes or to reveal to them things that the characters can’t see. Whether large – businessman by day, serial killer by night; or small – where a character silently yearns for an ex-lover.” Eli Goldstone compiles a list for The Guardian of 10 novels whose characters are concealing big secrets, including a few lesser-knowns like Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle and New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani.
"They are both popular and literary and seem to have no problem standing with a foot in each category." For The Paris Review, our own Adam O’Fallon Price writes about the "unambiguous sophistication" of Curtis Sittenfeld's writing—which is often regulated to the world of "chick lit"—and her new short story collection, You Think It, I'll Say It. (Read our interview with Sittenfeld.)
Ian Thompson for The Telegraph has written a fantastic, comprehensive piece on the fabulous allure of the Cuban-born, Italian writer Italo Calvino. Head back to The Millions for a couple of pieces on Calvino’s sixth memo and science fiction masterpiece, respectively.
England, as you know if you’ve ever read A Christmas Carol, has a long tradition of telling ghost stories around Christmas. What else could you read besides the Dickens classic to partake? At The Paris Review Daily, Colin Fleming lists a number of candidates, including Smee by A.M. Burrage and The Kit-Bag by Algernon Blackwood. You could also check out our reading list for December.