“They are both popular and literary and seem to have no problem standing with a foot in each category.” For The Paris Review, our own Adam O’Fallon Price writes about the “unambiguous sophistication” of Curtis Sittenfeld‘s writing—which is often regulated to the world of “chick lit”—and her new short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. (Read our interview with Sittenfeld.)
Cory Arcangel‘s Working on My Novel is composed solely of tweets from people who (one is led to assume) are engaged in the singularly tragic enterprise of writing books that, unlike Working on My Novel, will take years to complete, yet won’t be published by Penguin or noticed by The Paris Review. Oh, the meta-irony. And now I’ve just honored it with a Curiosities post.
Margaret Wise Brown was nothing if not an interesting figure. The Goodnight Moon author, whose life is the subject of a new biography, loved hunting, partying and staging stunts, among them founding a club that claimed they could reschedule Christmas. She kept homes in Greenwich Village and a tiny island off Maine. At Slate, Laura Miller reads the new book by Amy Gary. You could also read our own Jacob Lambert’s critical review of kid’s picture books.
In a short biographical piece for Open Letters Monthly, Sam Sacks writes about the book reviewing career of Katherine Mansfield and the ways in which it “helped her build the writing muscles needed” to finish her masterful short stories. While some critics might take umbrage at the way Sacks characterizes Mansfield as “turning out deadline copy like an ink-stained Fleet Street hack,” his look into her reviews culminates in the realization that “the point [of reviewing books] is not to be constructive but to construct something of lasting value in the little space and little time you’re granted. Like all writing, it should be a passion, not a pastime. The point is to dazzle.”
In an interview with Big Think back in 2008, David Remnick said of Philip Roth that the writer “would have been my father had Philip Roth not been a literary intellectual but rather an orthodontist in North Jersey.” At The New Yorker’s website, Remnick eulogizes Roth’s work upon his retirement. (Keith Meatto did the same thing for us.)