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.
Recommended Listening: Margaret Atwood on her new novel – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and the fall of realistic fiction. As she explains it, “when there’s perceived instability that’s happening you can’t write [a so-called realistic] novel and have people believe it.”
Lolita has been, for decades, a great inspiration to cover designers, and all those great covers inspired architect John Bertram to hold his own cover design contest to see who could best re-imagine Nabokov’s classic. The resulting competition has now inspired a book, coming in August, with a cover by designers Sulki & Min that references a letter Nabokov sent to his American publisher, Walter J. Minton of Putnam, in April 1959 about the cover design for Lolita. “I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls. If we cannot find that kind of artistic and virile painting, let us settle for an immaculate white jacket (rough texture paper instead of the usual glossy kind), with LOLITA in bold black lettering.” More: An interview with Bertram.
Caitlin Flanagan’s long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article’s contentious lines: “to really love Joan Didion … you have to be female.”