On August 1st, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. Also, Franz Kafka went swimming. Moreover, the Metamorphosis author mentioned both events in his diary, writing simply and strangely that “Germany has declared war on Russia — went swimming in the afternoon.” Was this odd phrasing intentional or a sign of the author’s self-absorption? In an article for Open Letters Monthly, Robert Minto reads all three volumes of Reiner Stach’s new biography.
NYC-area readers are invited to an event this Friday centered on the topic of marketing literature in the age of Gawker. At 7 p.m. I’ll be moderating a panel discussion that includes novelists Fiona Maazel and Tao Lin, literary agent Erin Hosier, and Christopher Kolouris of the website Scallywag & Vagabond. The event, which doubles as a launch party for Canteen magazine’s “Hot Authors” issue, also features two bands, a DJ, and an open bar. More info at 3rd Ward.
We’ve got some great stuff in the pipeline at The Millions, starting with a lierary magazine roundtable (part one of which will be up shortly), but before we get to that a couple of quick links:This week at the LBC we’re discussing our winter 2007 Read This! selection, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugl wa Thiong’o. A roundtable discussion kicks off a week that will include a contest, an interview, a podcast, and more.Speaking of the LBC, a past selection, and one of my favorites from among the books we’ve read, Firmin by Sam Savage, has been named a finalist for the Barnes & Noble 2006 Discover Great New Writers Awards. That little rat just keeps on trucking along.And finally, Robert Birnbaum sits down with Richard Ford (again) for another great interview. Thanks to Millions contributor Noah, we had some great coverage of Ford’s most recent book, The Lay of the Land, in November, including a review, a reader question, and a (very brief) interview..
Out this week: City on Fire by our own Garth Risk Hallberg (whom we interviewed yesterday); Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann; Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel; The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts; Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam; And West is West by Ron Childress; and Eyes by William H. Gass. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
What I didn’t want was for my book to become a trauma narrative or a healing narrative that would be touted as merely a testament to love. It’s not meant to be only an uplifting and inspirational piece of literature. I’m tired of the type of memoir that just shows you its scars and wants you to feel sympathy for it. This is not that kind of memoir.” Garrard Conley interviewed over at Electric Literature in conjunction with the release of his new memoir, Boy Erased.