“I certainly didn’t want to do something that felt as if I was having a séance. I started with her most personal papers. I wanted her interior voice; I didn’t want the formal writing. I went immediately to her diaries and letters and to the commonplace books. From there I started looking at the marginalia because I was getting a sense of wanting to know what was on her mind while she was writing in her journals.” Lynell George conducted a posthumous interview with Octavia Butler, Bomb magazine talked to her about the process. Pair it with this essay on slavery in fiction from our own Edan Lepucki.
In 2006, the National Library of Norway enacted an ambitious plan to digitize every book in its holdings by 2020. The idea is that all of the content (even works under copyright) will be accessible to people logging into the system with a Norwegian IP address.
You may have heard that our own Emily St. John Mandel has a new book on shelves. The book depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which a group of nomadic actors deal with the aftermath of a devastating flu pandemic. Claire Cameron (who’s also written for The Millions) reviews the book for The Globe and Mail.
Recommended Reading: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo collected sixteen short stories from sixteen authors among Cuba’s “Generación Año Cero” (Generation Year Zero), which is a “movement of writers who began publishing in 2000.” The anthology, which is available for free online in both English and Spanish, features illustrations from Cuban artists El Sexto and Luis Trápaga.
“You can’t be worrying how you sound. You can’t wonder whether you or your characters are likable or smart or interesting. You have to be inside the scene—the tactile world of tables and chairs and sunlight—attending to your characters, people who exist for you in nonvirtual reality.” Paris Review editor Lorin Stein writes for The New York Times about solitude in the age of the Internet and the future of the book.