At Guernica, Garth Greenwell discusses his new book, Cleanness, which shares a narrator with his debut, What Belongs to You. “I think it’s an assumption on my part about human beings: that we don’t know ourselves, that we are much more mysteries to ourselves than we are clear, and that someone who feels they are not a mystery to themselves is deluded,” Greenwell says. “It always seems to me that there’s a great deal of ourselves we don’t know, and that we don’t want to know. One of the things that interests me about narrative, and about having the same narrator over two books, is the possibility that presents of repeatedly putting this person in situations where he undergoes a process of coming into self-knowledge and is forced to look at things he’d prefer not to look at and to discover things that maybe he would prefer not to know, or things that frighten him.”
Out this week: The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis; A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction by Terry Pratchett; Ballroom by Alice Simpson; Hello Mr. Bones & Goodbye Mr. Rat by Patrick McCabe; Rooms by Lauren Oliver; and How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, who released an essay collection two years ago. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Cool idea from Quarterly: a subscription service “that enables people to receive physical items in the mail from influential contributors of their choice.” I mean, who wouldn’t want some mail from Maud Newton, Jason Kottke, and Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)?
“What a miracle to find this buried treasure in the archives. To think something as good as this has been lying around there gathering dust.” An unpublished picture book by Maurice Sendak has been found, reports The Guardian; Presto and Zesto in Limboland, co-written with Sendak’s longtime collaborator Arthur Yorinks, is slated for publication next year. We revisited Where the Wild Things Are not long after the site’s founding.
Are we now living in a golden age of the uncanny? The Millions contributor Porochista Khakpour suspects that we are, and she also suspects that our historical moment, populated as it is with alienating developments and surreal art, is key to understanding the work of Helen Oyeyemi. In the Times, Khakpour reviews Oyeyemi’s new novel. (You could also read both writers’ Year in Reading pieces.)
“By having children, I’ve both sabotaged and saved myself as a writer… Many of the writers I love most were alcoholics. I’ve made my choice, I sometimes think: Wonderful children instead of hard liquor.” The Paris Review interviews Louise Erdrich for its Winter issue.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler has a new book on shelves this week, as does William Gibson. Also out: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber; Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah; a new collection of Maeve Binchy’s Irish Times columns; and a hardcover compilation of entries in the NYT’s By the book series. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.