In anticipation of his new book, Deacon King Kong, James McBride spoke to Seija Rankin at Entertainment Weekly about his favorite books and authors, including Harper Lee, William Saroyan, and John A. Williams. He also recounts a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with one of his literary heroes, Kurt Vonnegut. “I had lunch with Vonnegut and his wife, the talented photographer Jill Krementz, not too long before he died. After lunch Jill left us alone and Kurt and I listened to Wagner and Louis Armstrong in his sitting room. We talked music for a long time. He loved those two creative musical voices.”
Many writing guides feature long explainers that detial how to craft a great plot. They’ve turned the phrase “rising action” into a buzzword in many classes. At Page-Turner, a short comic illustrating major plots that don’t work, including one in which the protagonist “ignores the problem until it goes away.”
“They said banning me from Twitter would finish me off. Just as I predicted, the opposite has happened.” Talking Points Memo reports that Simon & Schuster is moving forward with plans to publish a book by Breitbart News editor and white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos, whose extended harassment of comedian Leslie Jones finally led to his expulsion from Twitter last year. Critics of the publishing house have called for its boycott, including some of its own authors.
Out this week: Swing Time by Zadie Smith; Born a Crime by Trevor Noah; The China Sketchbook by I. Allen Sealy; Writing to Save a Life by John Edgar Wideman; The Abridged History of Rainfall by Jay Hopler; and Forever Words by the late Johnny Cash. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.
“Adolf Hitler loved books—that nasty bent for book burning notwithstanding—and the book industry loves him back. Type his name into Amazon, and while he doesn’t trigger the English-language numbers of Jesus (186,740) or Lincoln (70,710), he registers a solid 18,597—a stunning figure for someone who died less than 70 years ago.” On the Fuhrer’s paradoxical relationship with literature.