Out this week: All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy; Come with Me by Helen Schulman; The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose; Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates; and Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathias Énard. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Recommended Reading: Bailey Lewis’s short story at Paper Darts “When the South Wind Blows Glass Shatters and Disappears Like Rain.” “A young girl’s body hurtles through a stationery store window at top speed.”
“How can you write a complete story without a conventional plot? We often hear that in short stories, the main character must change. But in some stories, including some by Grace Paley, the characters don’t change. Instead, her stories change the reader. You’re different by the time you reach the end.” We’ve told you about The Atlantic’s “By Heart” series plenty of times before. This week, it’s Alice Mattison, who touches on everything from character development to the strange stories of Grace Paley.
Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
One of the more common questions that comes up in The Nervous Breakdown’s self-interviews is what the subjects consider to be the hardest part of the writing life. The most recent edition sees Jac Jemc, whose latest came out last week, admit that time is what foils her: “Everything takes longer than I think it will, more drafts than I think it will.” This might be a good time to look back on some earlier examples of the form.
In exciting micro library news, Book Riot reports that the 50,000-th Little Free Library was “planted” on November 4th, doubling the number of Little Libraries in the U.S. a year and a half ago. We’re all in agreement that big libraries are more vital than ever, though, right?