“Now I wrote until near dawn, wanting a map of the literary nation, a beautiful evocation of how we are truly a nation of village and city and prairie and brownstone, of Rockies and bayous and mesas. Novels give to every reader someone else’s home. Can we not see this – we of wonder and grievance?” Susan Straight creates a map of America in 737 novels, prompting us to remember the perennial literary question: What is the greatest American novel?
“Quite possibly I’m a narrower, nastier and less morally responsible writer now than I was the day before my son was born. I certainly hope so.” We know Father’s Day was over a week ago, but here’s a belated link to a refreshingly cliché-free New York Times Bookends piece on parenting and writing, featuring James Parker and Mohsin Hamid.
What’s behind the rise of the new-adult genre of fiction? You could blame the rise of Millennials, but that would be, as Emily Landau argues in a piece for the Canadian magazine The Walrus, too cheap and reductive to really answer the question. Instead, she says that we should look at NA as fundamentally similar to YA, with the main difference being that NA books portrays characters on the cusp of independence. (Related: we polled a group of high school students to find out their favorite YA books of 2013.)
“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.”