Out this week: Heavy by Kiese Laymon; Girls Write Now by the Girls Write Now program; Melmoth by Sarah Perry; In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt; Trinity by Louisa Hall; Sleep of Memory by Patrick Modiano; and Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
In general, fact-checking isn’t the most glamorous part of a journalist’s career, which is why Michael Erard was surprised to find that a recent fact-checking session for an Al Jazeera article turned out to be among the most interesting conversations of his life. Why? His sources were linguists, and their job was to explain to him the workings of brand-new sign languages.
“How could we possibly trust any creature that comes into the world wearing such a caul of ambiguity? That’s “essayists.” Four hundred and four years later, they continue to flourish.” John Jeremiah Sullivan offers a loose history of the essay, essayists, and all their many contradictions in a piece for The New Yorker.
If you’re anything like me, you’re likely to be intrigued by a series with the title Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food. If you’re a lot like me, to the point where it may be a cause for concern, you’ll be doubly intrigued by the prospect of Charles Yu paying a visit to Buffalo Wild Wings. Sample quote: “I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the restaurant simultaneously managed to exceed, disappoint, and exactly meet these expectations.”
NY Press has a long look at the history of iconoclastic indie press Soft Skull, which recently shuttered its New York office, effectively ending the publisher’s run as a standalone press and making it just an imprint of California-based parent (and, it should be noted, rescuer from financial straights) Counterpoint. Incidentally, I’ve had a front row seat for all this, as, for the book I’m co-editing, I was initially working with the good folks in New York and then everything was suddenly (and thankfully without a hitch) transferred to the folks in Berkeley. (Thanks, Craig)
In an interview for Guernica Jonathan Lee talks to Chris Parris-Lamb, the literary agent who represented Chad Harbach‘s The Art of Fielding, John Darnielle‘s National Book Award-nominated Wolf in White Van, and now our very own Garth Risk Hallberg‘s upcoming City on Fire, about “The Art of Agenting.” Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s conversation with her agent, “Don’t Ever Do It for the Money,” and with the opening lines of City on Fire, a Millions exclusive.