Out this week: The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer; The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory; A Long Way Home by Peter Carey; Claude Before Time and Space by Claudia Emerson; and The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa.
Congratulations to the NYPL for restoring $36.7 million of the city’s proposed $40 million budget cut. Today also marks the first day of new NYPL president Anthony Marx. (Pro-tip: when you want to skip the wait list for a popular book, reserve the large-print version!)
“I lived alone for three years in Brooklyn, paying $1,700 a month ($61,200 all told) for a pretty but small one-bedroom within eyeshot of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. I also spent $400 a month on health insurance. At one point I thought I would find another full-time job after finishing the book, but then I must have convinced myself that teaching yoga part time would better enable my writing.” Emily Gould on poverty and the writing life.
Next week, Martin Amis will publish Zone of Interest, a dark new novel that takes place, like his earlier Time’s Arrow, in Nazi-occupied lands during the Holocaust. In this week’s New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates reviews the book, suggesting that Amis is most compelling when he writes as a “satiric vivisectionist.” You could also read our own Mark O’Connell on Lionel Asbo: State of England.
Meet the man who calls his own fans “scum,” R. Crumb. Crumb first rose to prominence after the 1968 debut of Zap Comix, the first of the majorly successful “underground comix” publications. His work with legendary poet Charles Bukowski is worth taking a look.
In the world of selling books, it’s not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. “The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do… Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up.”