It doesn’t get much better than James Wood on Joy Williams: “Nothing is stranger (and funnier) in Williams’s work than her details. Like her forms, they only resemble conventional realist details, an atmosphere perhaps encouraged by her flat, functional sentences (“They danced. Sam had quite a bit to drink”). The details are frequently surreal, magical, hallucinogenic, delivered in a cool, dispassionate, routine manner.”
In an effort to adjust more comfortably to the modern age, the Merriam-Webster company is revamping its iconic dictionary, the first to focus mainly on American English. At Slate, Stefan Fatsis considers the changes, which raise the question of what a modern dictionary should look like. Related: our own Bill Morris on the American Heritage Dictionary.
Out this week: Our Little Racket by Anjelica Baker; Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma; Night Thoughts by Wallace Shawn; The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore; and New Collected Poems by Marianne Moore. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.