“He wrote the first drafts by hand, and when that became too difficult, dictated sections of the book into a tape recorder.” Before his death in July, playwright and actor Sam Shepard wrote a novel called Spy of the First Person, which is forthcoming from Knopf in December. From our archives, a list of writers who also act.
“When, like Alice Munro, you feel your way forward, sniffing and digging and groping toward a truth virtually beyond words, it takes a long time. And the structures, organic to that process, are as miraculous and indicative and expressive of that truth—one of the deeper truths of human life—that fiction is all about.” Elizabeth Poliner explains how mapping Alice Munro’s stories made her a better writer. Never read Munro? Check out our beginner’s guide to her stories.
Out this week: The Familiar, Volume 1 by Mark Z. Danielewski; The Green Road by Anne Enright; The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard; The Edge Becomes The Center by DW Gibson; The Daemon Knows by Harold Bloom; How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz; Girl at War by Sara Novic; The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld; and City by City, an essay collection edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb. For more on these books and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.
The fuss is currently over John D’Agata and Jim Fingal’s clashes over factual accuracy, but frankly I’m tired of hearing about it. Maybe it’s because it sounds so reminiscent of David Shields’ Reality Hunger (2010). Or, better yet, maybe it’s because it sounds so reminiscent of David Sedaris’ Naked (1997).
Steven Pinker‘s The Better Angels of Our Nature posits that human violence is becoming less and less common in civilized culture. If your interest was piqued by the book’s review in The New York Times, you will no doubt be interested in his Edge Master Class as well.
“Putin, like Hitler, understood that the purpose of spectacles is to dazzle the eye while clouding the mind.” For the Daily Beast, staff writer Bill Morris writes about the thuggish dictators who love the propaganda of the World Cup. (If you haven’t already checked out our list of seven great soccer reads, do it now!)