With his upcoming book, Something That May Shock and Discredit You, coming out in January, Daniel Mallory Ortberg talks to Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore at The Guardian about the wide array of subjects addressed in the book. He covers everything from William Shatner and HGTV’s House Hunters to the Book of Genesis, particularly one story: “I think there’s so much in the story with Jacob wrestling with the angel of Penuel. I wrote that story from the angel’s perspective. So much of that story feels like it has a lot of trans-resonance. There’s no explanation about what the figure—the angel—comes for. It ends with this strange touch where afterwards he never walks the same way again. He has a new name. He is no longer called Jacob.”
Our own Lydia Kiesling writes for The New Yorker about workplace fiction by women. As she puts it, “If the author is a woman, workplace fiction is also domestic fiction, easily disguised as ‘chick lit,’ ‘girlfriend literature,’ or even ‘erotica.’ Regardless of the packaging, these books provide mapping, contextualizing, and rich illustration of women’s working lives.” For more of her writing, check out her essay on the San Francisco housing market for The Millions.
Kory Stamper, one of the lexicographers responsible for Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, describes the pleasures and poetry to be found in the Third Edition’s “color definitions.” Take vermillion for example, which is listed as “a variable color averaging a vivid reddish orange that is redder, darker, and slightly stronger than chrome orange, redder and darker than golden poppy, and redder and lighter than international orange.” (Related: how colors got their names; who names colors what.)
“I thought it was going to be a short novel, that it was one person’s story. But I was wrong, because history is always shaping everything.” The New York Times reviews Marlon James‘s latest novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, which we covered in our “Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview.”