The Guardian has photos of A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara‘s New York City apartment and its 12,000 – yes 12,000 – books. Pair with our interview with her from 2015: “It was the worst—the bleakest, the most physically exhausting, the most emotionally enervating—writing experience I’d had. I felt, and feared, that the book was controlling me, somehow, as if I’d somehow become possessed by it.”
“If we are now relentlessly connected, every marginal identity gaining collective recognition, becoming assimilated, ever more rapidly? If that is where we stand, then something like a stubbornly solitary voice may be welcome, even necessary, telling us that what it means to be human—and what may keep us human—is to feel alone in a strange room, with our seclusion the thing that defines and can save us.” On bearing witness to the spectacle of aloneness and the fiction of empathy.
Since we’re deep into the season of “year end” lists, here’s a list of ten great novels written by women that didn’t get a lot of critical attention this year. That isn’t to say that aren’t a ton of other books deserving of this distinction, just that these are some really good ones. Go list-crazy and pair with our own Year in Reading series.
Twenty U.S. publishers have teamed up with Netherlands-based platform Blendle to launch a beta version of the app in the U.S., which allows users to purchase individual articles instead of subscriptions to magazines and newspapers. Many are questioning what the future of journalism may hold in light of this new user model. If you’re wondering about the future of the book, check out our column on it.
Looking for a new literary magazine to submit to? Check out Midnight Breakfast. The Rumpus’s Rebecca Rubenstein edits the online free literary magazine, which is looking for fiction, nonfiction, interviews, and art that will “spark a conversation.” The first issue includes a Jason Diamond coming-of-age essay and a short story by Matthew Salesses.
In a Simpsons episode from the late nineties, Lisa Simpson, concerned that her mental skills may be deteriorating, manages to finagle her way onto a local TV news broadcast, where she urges the residents of Springfield to read two books: To Kill a Mockingbird and Harriet the Spy. At first glance, the two novels might not seem to have that much in common, but as Anna Holmes argues in a blog post for The New Yorker, the books share “ideas about the complexity, sophistication, and occasional wickedness of young girls’ imaginations.” (You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Malcolm Gladwell and To Kill a Mockingbird.)
Pacific Standards profiles Ken Layne who quietly started the popular quarterly literary magazine, Desert Oracle for a town of 8,000 people. Now it has gained far more readers than that as it highlights works related to the American desert. “The reason that the Oracle works is that it’s always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it’s not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It’s a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has.”