Out this week: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje; That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam; Come West and See by Maxim Loskutoff; The Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava; Belly Up by Rita Bullwinkel; and Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard.
“What makes a word ‘real’?” Should groan-inducing words like “adorkable” be counted? Anne Curzan, language historian, gives a Ted talk about the human element in dictionaries and the importance of slang.
Javier Marías cogently summarizes all the reasons to stop writing novels immediately, and adds only one reason to write them anyway: “Fiction is the most bearable of worlds.” We reviewed The Infatuations, one of his own twelve works (to date), last year.
Thanks to Stephen Elliot‘s Letters in the Mail project, LARB senior editor Matthew Specktor finds himself admiring the gorgeous handwriting of strangers, feeling tickled and gobsmacked, and reflecting on letter writing as something “beautifully useless to do.”
“He was known to step out for cigarette breaks onto a narrow ledge beyond the bedroom windows. Attached to the wall next to a door is a brass speaking tube that he used to call down for lunch.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby house on Long Island sold for $3 million earlier this year, but you can still own a piece of him: The Washington Post reports that the four-bedroom Victorian in Minnesota where he penned the manuscript This Side of Paradise is currently listed at $625,000.