How do you deal with today’s “fiery, uncertain world”? We don’t have a solution, but a new Karen Russell interview could bring a little relief. For the Rumpus, Russell spoke to Frances Yackel about love, motherhood, and her new collection, Orange World and Other Stories. “The idea of orange world is that it is the world where most of us conduct our lives, in the overlap between these states of impossible heaven and real hell. And so, I think that this, as an awning for all the stories, was appropriate. I found myself wanting, even with all of them dealing with death, grief, and anxiety, I just wanted there to be a note of hope and some feeling that even if the green world feels impossibly remote right now, even that is a place that we can all imagine ourselves into.”
Interested in seeing unsettling characters — preferably with moustaches — looking for meaning in wacky postmodernist settings? Well, o ye of of bizarre inclinations, you’re in luck: Thomas Pynchon is rumored to be working with Paul Thomas Anderson. (He’s also coming out with a new book.)
New this week are Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer by Wesley Stace (the pen name of singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding), and buzzed about debut The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale. On the nonfiction side is a new biography, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall. And new in paperback is Millions Hall of Famer The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
A basketball player gets kicked in the testicles and hundreds of news outets have to figure out how the heck to write about it: “Different outlets have different comfort levels when writing about the crotch. The New York Times, for example, threw idiomatic English out the door on first reference: ‘Exhibit A was that [Draymond] Green picked up a flagrant-1 foul — while hacked in the act of shooting — with 5 minutes 57 seconds left in the half by flailing a leg between those of Steven Adams, who wound up doubled over.'”
If you see something, read something: Yesterday New York City’s MTA launched Subway Reads, an eight-week-long initiative allowing strap-hangers to download novellas, short stories, or excerpts from books via the city’s new(ish) wi-fi service in 175 underground stations. They’ve even timed the length of Which news in turn begs the question: what would Borges say?
“In a bewildering new trend, it is young rationalist bloggers in Bangladesh who have emerged as the primary target of Islamic extremists.” K. Anis Ahmed writes about the brutal murders of bloggers at the front of the secular movement who have demanded punishment for those committing genocide. Pair with an essay from Hasan Altaf about how celebrating literature can be a form a protest.