At Lit Hub, Morgan Jerkins reflects on the importance of researching and telling her family’s story, as seen in her new book, Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots. “The closer I moved towards my subjects and their homelands, the more intimate the book became,” Jerkins writes. “The more I researched, the more I knew what was at stake. I knew methodological data was not enough. To detail Black living and death, I needed a gumbo of tools: journals, articles, scholarly interviews, oral history, and personal history. I didn’t ignore the omissions—I exposed them. I confessed my frustration and I spoke of the foundation for these omissions. Then I kept going because I had to.”
Punctuation can be as important as the prose. At Vulture, Kathryn Schultz discusses the five best punctuation marks in literature. The list includes this delightful parenthetical from Lolita, “My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three…”
Loudpoet has an interview with former Soft Skull Press publisher Richard Nash about his new social publishing venture Cursor. ““Social” is taking the book and making it much easier to have a conversation with the book and its writer, and have conversations around the book and its writer.” Is this a way forward for beleaguered publishers? (via The Lone Gunman)
“The real world is massive and chaotic beyond the scope of any story, but the novel has always been the storytelling medium that could come closest to capturing it. And the novels that dared to really try – from Hugo to Tolstoy – are often the ones that have endured.” That’s not to say, of course, that bigger is always better, and in an article for The Guardian Damien Walter argues against the current glut of epic, serialized fantasy novels taking their cues from George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire. As Walter puts it, “There are great fantasy short stories, novellas and single novels that deserve much wider audiences, but are sidelined by the industry’s unhealthy fixation with the serial format. It’s time for the fantasy genre to tell some new – shorter – stories.”
“Writing is the lonely sport of sad sacks.” The Rumpus interviews Lauren Groff, who’s a bit of a Millions favorite. Here’s her Millions interview and here’s Arcadia as Janet Potter’s Staff Pick this past April. Also, here’s a #LitBeat of a Literary Death Match she competed in earlier this year, in LA.
The short shelf of books written by Jane Austen has been recently supplemented by many imaginative efforts–Jane Austen as an amateur detective, and several works depicting Austen characters (or Jane herself) as a vampire, a zombie or some other Gothic monster. So what’s next? Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is Pride and Prejudice continued.
“If a modern film version of Pride and Prejudice were produced today, some of the main characters should be gay, Elizabeth and Darcy should not get married at the end, and Charlotte Lucas should be played by a tabby cat.” Laura Fairchild reveals her students’ ideas for new adaptations of Jane Austen novels while meditating on what Austen can or can’t teach us about modern relationships.