“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.
“For a novelist, writing letters is writing that is not writing,” Ed Park says of P.G. Wodehouse’s collected correspondence, A Life in Letters. The Year in Reading alum goes on to note that “a collection of letters is the unconscious narrative the author generates over the years.”
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.
Guernica sits down with political cartoonist Ted Rall to talk about his new book, Snowden. “I spent a lot of time drawing Snowden for this book, and I really don’t understand his hair. If I ever meet him, I’m going to request to touch his hair.” For more on cartoons, we reviewed The Best American Comics 2014 (guest edited by Scott McCloud, who we interviewed earlier this year).
Tracy Letts’ outstanding play August: Osage County was tapped for a movie adaptation back in 2010, but the project seemed to fall by the wayside shortly after. Then, last week, Bob Weinstein (of The Weinstein Company) announced the adaptation will begin filming this fall. It’ll star Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. You can read an excerpt from the play on our Tumblr.
Recommended recommendations: Nancy Kline surveys recently translated French novels for the New York Times Book Review. Pair with our own Bill Morris‘s piece in the Daily Beast on the 2014 Nobel Prize Winner Patrick Modiano and “Why American’s Don’t Read Foreign Fiction.”