“Like reading, love works in roughly the same way every time, but the details of any given case are irreducibly particular, and it’s in the details that everything happens.” Lidija Haas on Elif Batuman’s debut novel, The Idiot. (You could also read our review by Virginia Marshall.)
Laila Lalami recently wrote about "How History Becomes Story," but writing an interesting and compelling history book sans fiction has its own challenges. Thankfully S.C. Gwynne offers some tips in a piece for the History News Network, including the hard-hitting reminder that "it is your job to force your facts into narrative form."
Parentheses aren't just the mark of a lazy or verbose writer. They can also bracket personal pain in a narrative. At The New York Review of Books, Christopher Benfey explores the power of the parenthetical detail, such as Lolita's "My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three." Pair with: Vulture's "The 5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature."
“Ah, I think, a lizard-poet. This particular category was one I had concocted years before to describe those poets who were too Olympian to mingle with the rest of us, who stood to the side, detached, having feelings.” Remembering Larry Levis, whose book of last poems, The Darkening Trapeze, was released this past week.
Renaissance Learning has released its annual report on what children are reading. The NYDaily News books blog takes offense at some of the more popular books named in the report, suggesting that kids and teens deserve to be challenged by better literature. The Huffington Post mines through the report to discover that American teenagers on average are still reading at or near the level of fifth graders.
PSA: Little Brother is releasing a special issue entitled Everything Is Fine. The kicker? The issue is dedicated to fiction about embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford. (P.S. If you aren’t familiar with LB, it’s the magazine run by Millions Tumblr-er emeritus Emily M. Keeler.)