Out this week: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn; A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson; Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know by Colm Tóibín; and Little by Edward Carey. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
In writing her novel The Last Neanderthal, which published this week, Millions staffer Claire Cameron relied on Jane Smiley’s motto for writing historical fiction: “you are there.” Bonus: Don’t miss our interview with Cameron, in which she describes her many “life-long obsessions.”
Anyone who’s ever forgotten a million-dollar idea will attest to the maddening tendency of the subconscious to forget things. For many people, this extends to dreams, where the best ideas can pop up and die before the morning. But why is it so difficult to remember them? At Salon, the neuroscience behind our chronic inability to remember dreams. Related: Blake Butler’s innovative Year in Reading piece.
Take a break from watching the snowboarding and skating at the Winter Olympics, and read some Russian literature instead. At NPR, Andrew D. Kaufman recommends three books to learn more about the Caucasus. For more on Russian literature, read our own Nick Moran’s essay on duels in Russian fiction.
After nearly a quarter of a millennium, the Encyclopedia Britannica is ending its print run. While the publication plans to move to a digital subscription based model, and to continue to gather information about the known world, many are sad to note its passing. Roxane Gay offers a particularly heartfelt eulogy: ” it was exciting to open the huge box and pull out the leather bound volumes, so many of them, the pages lined in gold.”
As a cultural center with a very different makeup than the various home bases of the publishing world, Los Angeles often gets short shrift in discussions of literary cities. At the LARB (naturally), Sarah-Jane Stratford writes about the city’s importance to speculative literature, with an emphasis on the works of Ray Bradbury. Related: Tanjil Rashid on Bradbury’s Middle East connection.
If you have a blog, you’ve probably fielded suggestions from your relatives about what you should write, who you should write about and what personal issues you should address in your posts. At The Hairpin, Michelle Markowitz shares a conversation with her mother on the subject.