Out this week: Venture of the Infinite Man by Pablo Neruda; Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems; and a new translation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
What can you find at a gun show: firearms, NRA-lovers, and chapbooks? Patrick Wensink discovers the literary subculture of gun enthusiasts. Best chapbook titles: "Homebrew TNT," "Beat the Box: The Insider’s Guide to Beating the Lie Detector” and "Emergency War Surgery.”
Do you want to nurture your writing? Sign up for the Skillshare online class Creative Writing for All: 10 Days to a Daily Habit, taught by Friendship author and Year in Reading alumna Emily Gould and featuring a 10-day creative writing challenge. Also: enrollment is free through April 12.
"What I want to know is, since when does making art require participation in any community, beyond the intense participation that the art itself is undertaking? Since when am I not contributing to the community if all I want to do is make the art itself?" Meghan Tifft gives voice to the struggle of the introverted writer in an essay for The Atlantic.
Another big week for books is headlined by Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue (the book's opening lines) and Junot Díaz's This Is How You Lose Her. Also out are Susan Straight's Between Heaven and Here, touted debuts The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, How Music Works by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and Bob Woodward's latest Beltway tick-tock The Price of Politics.
Los Angeles Review of Books managing editor Evan Kindley reviews Michael Szalay’s Hip Figures: A Literary History of the Democratic Party, and says it “reminds us of a time, not long ago, when literary intellectuals set great store by mainstream political parties, and vice versa.”
The 2014 National Book Awards were just announced earlier this week. In celebration, The Paris Review took a look back at the American Book Awards, which "serve as a reminder that ostensibly prestigious institutions—institutions whose authority and taste depend on their perceived stability—are just as susceptible to whims and trends as the rest of us, which is to say very."
"Their staff is always sharp, and they seem to cover politics more robustly now. But through the 1960s there were so many political trends they ignored, pretending to be focused on craft and art for art's sake." An interview with Joel Whitney about his forthcoming book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers, which tells the story of how the intelligence agency helped found The Paris Review. With this backstory in mind, you may read the journal's author interviews in an entirely new way.