At The End of the World Review, Lauren Oyler talks about her career as a critic and writer, why literary fiction needs protecting, and the differences between literary culture in America and Europe. “It is certainly valuable to see people living and writing in other ways. To a certain extent in Europe, you’re more likely to be around people who have been encouraged to read a lot more serious literature and philosophy, and they aren’t just wealthy or upper-class people,” she says. “Meanwhile, in the United States you can go through an entire private-school-to-Ivy-League education and still be stupid. There are many very smart Americans, but they aren’t being served by our publishing industry or media or our ‘literary culture.’ I think many people are very alienated by the way things work here—enough people to make a bestseller!—not because it’s inaccessible, but because it’s patronizing. You can find a lot of great reading through weird avenues, but it would be nice if you didn’t have to look very hard.” Oyler’s debut novel, Fake Accounts, will be published in February.
Recommended Reading: This unsettling, important essay by Kira Jane Buxton at The Rumpus: “He starts to move with a slow hiss. This is his place, his world, and so when he walks he does it slowly, time in his pockets. He keeps his eyes on me, keeps me in my place in his world. I can’t hold the fear back for much longer, the bridle is snapping.”
Need to spice up your writing? Try one of McSweeney’s punctuation marks such as the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe, which likes “to ‘peace out’ of its obligation to indicate possession or contraction,” or the Academic Ellipsis, which “is used by those who wish to demonstrate just how much more they know about how to use ellipses than you do.”
“Welcome to the resistance, bunny.” Currently sold out on Amazon after topping the book charts for days, The New Yorker writes about John Oliver‘s charming children’s book, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. Pair with: an essay about reconnecting with childhood favorites as a parent.
Get your mind right ahead of the Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere by reading this just-released chapter of George R. R. Martin’s sixth Song of Ice and Fire installment, Winds of Winter. Martin told fans in a recent blog post, “The new chapter is actually an old chapter. But no, it’s not one I’ve published or posted before.”
Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore just launched a First Editions Club where members get a signed first edition of a new book each month. Some recent selections include: George Saunders’s Tenth of December (our review), Jonathan Dee’s A Thousand Pardons (our review), and Philipp Meyer’s The Son.