Min Jin Lee, author of the bestselling novel Pachinko, recounts how she found her voice, going from a young student struggling with the English language to a published author promoting her own work. “I write novels, and now and then I give lectures,” she writes. “I come from many tribes—immigrant, introvert, working class, Korean, female, public school, Queens, Presbyterian. Growing up, I never knew that people like me could write books or talk in public. To this day, I worry that if I mess up, others like me might not be asked or allowed. This is how outsiders and newcomers feel. It is neither rational nor fair. I know.”
We tend to assume that life stories, in mentally healthy people, are concrete things, assembled from events that are hard to twist or distort. Yet all of us shape our own stories in ways we can’t always see. At The Atlantic, Julie Beck explores the idea that life stories, as we construct them, form integral parts of our personalities.
I’ve been meaning to link to Ed’s review of Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story in the Philly Inquirer. Jenny finds that not everyone agrees with Ed. Previously: King tells the Paris Review the he sees Lisey’s Story as a “special book.”Why Levi won’t be reading Thomas Pynchon’s new book Against the Day. Michael, meanwhile, already has his copy.Former book columnist at the Dallas Morning News Jerome Weeks has started a blog, book/daddy. Weeks took a buyout from his paper and has been vocal about the downsizing of cultural coverage in newspapers. See Weeks’ comment on a recent post on this topic.Assigned reading too hard for schoolkids say experts.Google recently subpoenaed a number of companies – Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo and publishers Random House, Holtzbrinck, and HarperCollins – to collect evidence that will back its side in the copyright case against Google Books being brought by authors and publishers. Now, Amazon has rejected Google’s request, and the other companies are expected to follow suit.
Best selling author Elena Ferrante will be a new weekend columnist for the Guardian magazine. Why did she decide to go this route in addition to writing a screenplay? Read her reasoning and pair with this essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s work.
The sports world lost a legend this week in Joe Frazier. In honor of Smokin’ Joe’s indelible mark on the sport of boxing, Byliner has gathered thirteen great stories on the sweet science. Also worth reading is George Plimpton‘s classic Sports Illustrated story on the Frazier vs. George Foreman fight in Kingston.