“Save everything, she said. Everything. When your archive gets bought, they pay by the cubic foot.” Sarah Manguso in The New York Times about drafts in an era of digital writing. And while we’re on the subject , here’s what Ben Fountain, Emily St. John Mandel, Emma Straub and a passel of other writers have to say about writing that elusive first draft.
Linda Chavers pens an important letter to black girls everywhere. She writes, “I am giving you the prologue. You must go forward accepting and understanding that no one will ever do it as well as you do, and no one will ever tell you that you do it better than anybody else.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
Disappointed by how few of the dozens of official book cover designs of Nabokov’s Lolita “correspond thematically to the novel,” blog Venus febriculosa is holding a book cover design contest (pdf) to create a new cover for Lolita and is awarding a $350 prize. (Thx, John)
Jeff Vandermeer writes for the Los Angeles Times about autobiographical influence in fantasy and sci-fi and argues that “there’s little or no difference in process or results compared to “normal” fiction, except that sometimes you end up with a dragon in your story and sometimes you don’t.” Pair with Alex Trivilino‘s account of “binge-reading” Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.
A new Margaret Atwood novel is out this week, as is a new book by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee. Also out: The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell, At the Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick and Duplex by Kathryn Davis. For more on these and other upcoming releases, check out our Great 2013 Second-Half Book Preview.
In mid-January, ten days after moving to California, Geoff Dyer suffered a stroke while throwing away trash in his new home. At the hospital, he recovered quickly, but the incident left him “conscious that the ground could open Adairishly beneath my feet at any moment.” In the LRB, he writes about the experience. (Related: Dyer wrote two Year in Reading entries for The Millions.)