At the Believer, Larissa Pham discusses her new book, Pop Song, with Adalena Kavanagh, and shares her hope that it resonates with Asian women who do not often see themselves in writing. ” I don’t know if I can center my Asianness in my writing any more than it already is,” Pham says, “which is to say, it’s part of every fiber that gets woven. It’s weird to think that my book will be coming out in a climate where, due to an awful, really awful incident of violence, people are looking at Asian women and thinking, yeah, we should probably care. I am wondering how my identity might play into how my book is received, particularly the sections that deal with this particular racialized trauma. My hope is that other Asian women might encounter it and it will contain some bit of truth that feels, if not completely relatable, if not completely comforting, something like a lighthouse spotting another lighthouse from far away.”
Out this week: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (who Angela Qian wrote about for The Millions in September); We Are Water by Wally Lamb; Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins; Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books by Claudia Roth Pierpont; and The Eternal Wonder, a recently discovered novel by Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck. For more on these and other new books, check out our Great Second-half 2013 Book Preview.
“When the French would go to serve, they often said, Tenez!, the French word for ‘take it,’ meaning ‘coming at you, heads up.’ We preserve this custom of warning the opponent in our less lyrical way by stating the score just before we toss up the ball. It was the Italians who, having overheard the French make these sounds, began calling the game ‘ten-ez’ by association. A lovely detail in that it suggests a scene, a Florentine ear at the fence or entryway, listening.” Whether it’s David Foster Wallace or John Jeremiah Sullivan writing about tennis, I’m reading it. Another three-namer, Jonathan Russell Clark, reviewed The David Foster Wallace Reader for The Millions.
It’s impossible to deny that memoir writing is having a bit of a moment, as more and more major books delve deeply into authors’ lives for material (here’s looking at you, Knausgaard). But what happens when memoir meets straight history? According to The Canadian Press, both genres only become more interesting. “[People] think non-fiction is just boring, fuddy-duddy history books, [but] if you look at Canadian literature right now, non-fiction is incredibly exciting.”
Electric Literature—first established as a cross-platform digital publisher, but best known for its popular “Recommended Reading” tumblog—has just relaunched itself as a literary advocate built around a strong website and social channels. C0-founder Andy Hunter tells the Washington Post, “Posting a cool photo on social media gets a much greater response than text alone, even in our audience of book lovers. While at first that might seem at odds with literary content, we’ve always felt that changes in the way we communicate create opportunities to reach more people.”
Women writers of color can apply for the two-week Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, which is being organized by Jack Jones Literary Arts, and will take place between October 16-30, 2017. The retreat will feature daily master classes with agents, editors, and publishing professionals, and comes with a $1,050 stipend. Applications are open until May 1, 2017.