“Getting too quickly to where you want to go, getting there too smoothly, is antithetical to thinking through complex issues. You want roadblocks, confusion, chaos, and doubt. Unexpected, wonderful things come out of this approach.” Jeff VanderMeer provides a master class for Publisher’s Weekly on novel revision, explaining in five steps how his new book Borne arrived at its final incarnation. And for more shop talk, see VanderMeer’s interview with The Kills author Richard House from our own pages a couple of years back.
Recommended Reading: An excerpt from Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster at n+1. Read more about Alexievich at The Millions.
Somehow we knew that Gary Shteyngart had a pretty interesting childhood. As Andy Borowitz explains in a review of Little Failure, the author’s new memoir, the elder Shteyngart regaled his son with “outlandish” stories, most notably “a sci-fi saga about a Jewish planet under constant attack by volleys of pork.” You can learn what the author likes to read today in his Year in Reading piece.
“It’s fair to say Shakespeare is having a cultural moment in Asia, with a “boom” of new film adaptations and dramatic stagings,” and the Royal Shakespeare Company just received 1.5 million pounds to keep that boom going by translating all of the Bard’s plays into Mandarin. Melville House has the full story, and it pairs well with both this diagram of a translated book’s usual lifespan and this discussion of Shakespeare’s best plays.
“My mind flashed that disembodied jaw at me in a jaw’s version of full color; a dirty white that bone and snow agree on.” This piece of original short fiction from Kashana Cauley at The Daily Beast will make you never want to set foot in a Hermés store–or even just shop on Black Friday.
Speaking of festivals, recaps of last weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books are up at Jacket Copy. Rafael Yglesias took home the top fiction prize for his novel, A Happy Marriage.
Sarcasm makes the Internet go round. No, seriously, it basically does, and over at The Toast a linguist examines some of the strategies writers have developed, or are trying to develop, to communicate that sarcasm through writing, without the benefit of an eye-roll and a different tone of voice.