“The best thing I ever do for my writing is to take a walk alone in the woods behind our house. Nothing else gets my writing juices flowing so well. And yes, I think that I absolutely need more quiet in our current fractured world.” For Poets & Writers, novelist Leesa Cross-Smith interviewed fellow writer Silas House about quiet books and the importance of nature in the writing process. Pair with: our own Emily St. John Mandel on the pleasures of quiet books.
Is that a severed prostitute's nipple in my Mozart? At City Journal, Heather MacDonald mourns the rise of slick, irreverent productions of classical operas in Europe known as Regietheater (director's theater), a theory of opera direction that holds the director's take on an opera to be as (0r more) important than the artist's text.
Edwidge Danticat gives us one of the best definitions of the short story in an interview with Kima Jones at The Rumpus. "The short story is like an exquisite painting and you might, when looking at this painting, be wondering what came before or after, but you are fully absorbed in what you’re seeing." They also discuss Danticat's novel Claire of the Sea Light, Haitian and Dominican relations, and giving yourself permission to tell the truth. To find out what Danticat has been reading, see her 2013 Year in Reading.
New releases this week: All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang, “a writing-school success story” according to the New York Times in its review, Obama’s Wars, the latest book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward, Listen to This, a collection of essays published by music critic Alex Ross during his 12-year career at The New Yorker, and (almost new) is David Grossman’s To the End of the Land, as reviewed by Rayyan Al-Shawaf for The Millions.
Out this week: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti; Compass by Mathias Enard; The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck; Simulacra by Airea D. Matthews; and the Later Essays of Susan Sontag. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
How did Ian Fleming come up with James Bond? It’s easy to think, considering the political context of his era, that Fleming tailored his superspy to be the ideal hero of the Cold War. Yet there’s another, more prosaic explanation -- was the author simply having a midlife crisis?