“Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.” This seems a better time than most to revisit Rebecca Solnit‘s Hope in the Dark, an excerpt of which ran in The Guardian earlier this year. You can also read our review of Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby here.
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."
“For me, authenticity of setting is a kind of sine qua non for the feeling that a scene has been correctly done. I become unnerved if I haven’t got a ground plan, don’t know where my characters are. It’s a matter of personal psychology, I guess. I’ve always collected notes on settings. Most, of course, I’ll never use.” At the Tin House blog, Tim Horvath talks shop with Norman Rush.
“Others may prefer to will themselves into James Bond's dinner jacket and Aston Martin DB4, but I'd rather slip into a !Kung hunter's penis sheath and heft his hunting spear.” At The Guardian, Will Self explores his odd preference for deeply uncomfortable comfort reading.
Jenn Shapland had the pleasure of cataloguing the archives of Carson McCullers, Gertrude Stein, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Their possessions left her with a few lingering questions. Pair with Shapland’s piece on cataloguing David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.
To begin to translate a book, you need to hone your knowledge of the language in which it’s written. To write a great essay about translating a book, you need a backstory, an interesting format and two or three foreign parables. At The Rumpus, Brian Oliu writes about translating his grandfather’s book from the Catalan.
That Kickstarter is offering more opportunities than ever to literary projects, from Coffee House Press's Catstarter to the Joan Didion documentary to the Reading Rainbow spin-off, is indisputable. Now there's yet another worthy cause turning to the crowd-sourcing platform in search of an audience: The Riveter, a magazine of longform journalism by women.