Elevator inspectors, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, zombie movies: these are just a few of the things that have inspired Colson Whitehead’s books over the years. For Time, Whitehead goes over each of his books and the subjects that compelled him to write them. For his upcoming novel, The Nickel Boys, he explains: “It’s about places with no accountability. That dynamic between the powerful and the helpless, where our worst impulses can be let loose.”
Last week, Emily Gould recommended Nell Zink in her Year of Reading piece, extolling Zink’s novel The Wallcreepers as a “funny, profane, [and] deeply weird book.” At The Paris Review Daily, Matthew Jakubowski interviews the author, who talks about living in Germany, reading too much Kafka and writing for Jonathan Franzen.
We thought we had a better chance of seeing Odin than Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on TV, but after the HBO deal fell through, the novel is finally being adapted for the small screen by FremantleMedia. Bonus: Gaiman’s Anansi Boys is also being adapted into a BBC miniseries by RED. To brush up on Gaiman’s interest in mythology, read our review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
“Once certain hurdles are cleared (a bit of talent, years of work), being a writer is like flying a kite in a storm in a field full of people flying kites in a storm.” Garth Greenwell on writing his first novel, the importance of failure, and giving oneself privacy to make mistakes. Pair with Meredith Turits’s Millions piece, featuring six writers looking back on their first novels.
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich put together a reading list to help children understand the global refugee experience, and Kaveh Akbar compiled a list of poems from the seven countries — Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria — impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order. Meanwhile, Kieran Hebden (a.k.a. Four Tet) has been curating a Spotify playlist of music from those countries as well.