Whether they’re expected or not, houseguests often add intrigue and excitement to a novel. For The Guardian, author Jessica Francis Kane (who recently spoke to The Millions about her fourth book, Rules for Visiting) lists some of her favorite houseguests in literature, including King Lear, Jane Bennet, and more. “Allegedly there are only two kinds of story: someone goes on a journey, or someone comes to town. Either way the person has to stay somewhere, so the houseguest story is everywhere once you start looking for it.”
In 2013, Mo Yan became China’s first resident Nobel Laureate in Literature, which prompted a huge swell of interest in his books in the West. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Frog, his latest novel to get an English translation. Sample quote: “Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, says everything he needs to about the Cultural Revolution with a scene in which Tadpole and other schoolboys eat coal and claim to find it delicious.” You could also read Alan Levinovitz on modern Chinese literature.
Ferris Jabr writes for The New Yorker on the “profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing,” and cites books such as Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway as evidence this “curious link between mind and feet” is a serious literary force. After you’ve finished reading Jabr’s piece, be sure to check out Michelle Huneven‘s essay “On Walking and Reading at the Same Time,” and then perhaps go for a little stroll with a good book.