Fifty years after the publication of Ursula K. Le Guin‘s classic work of science fiction The Left Hand of Darkness, and less than one after the author’s death, Charlie Jane Anders writes for the Paris Review about how the book served as “a guidebook to a place I desperately wanted to visit but had never known how to reach.” Read about Le Guin’s “ambisexual world” and its warm, provocative, occasionally brutal vision of an alternative society.
Who invented ska music? John Jeremiah Sullivan traces the history of the genre in his latest essay for The Oxford American. “The more the claims for Rosco Gordon’s supremacy as a ska progenitor seem not out of proportion, and the less crazy it feels to say that, in a sense, ska was born in Tennessee.” Pair with: Sullivan’s essay on Bunny Wailer, who makes a cameo in his ska essay.
New this week are Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker (reviewed here), Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories (reviewed here), Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jack Kerouac’s “lost novel” The Sea is My Brother, and a new collection of poetry from Jonathan Galassi, Left-Handed.
The London Review of Books sought out Will Self to help create “a digital literary work that pushed the boundaries of the literary essay well beyond its traditional form.” The effort, they hoped, would “loosen and enhance the structure of the essay, changing the way the reader interacts with the text.” Well, consider that a success. Behold, “Kafka’s Wound” in all its multimedia glory. [Bonus: Millions readers in the UK can catch Will Self’s discussion of the digital essay on September 6th.]
Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore just launched a First Editions Club where members get a signed first edition of a new book each month. Some recent selections include: George Saunders’s Tenth of December (our review), Jonathan Dee’s A Thousand Pardons (our review), and Philipp Meyer’s The Son.
Watchmen and V for Vendetta author Alan Moore was interviewed recently, and among the topics discussed was Moore’s forthcoming twelve-part series Providence – which he describes as “my attempt to write what I would consider to be a piece of ultimate [H.P.] Lovecraft fiction.”