At the Rumpus, author and poet Musa Okwonga discusses In the End, It Was All About Love, a book that required him to be comfortable with the unknown. “For me—I don’t want to be universal—for me as a writer, the frightening thing about writing is that I often don’t know where I’m going to end up,” Okwonga says. “Not in terms of a plot, but I’m not sure what I’ll discover about myself, and the thing about writing a memoir, it’s about being seen. People write memoirs and they emerge being hated. So, when you’re writing, sometimes you’re afraid of what’s going to emerge.”
Back in April, our own Sonya Chung linked to an excerpt on Bloom of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, then featured on the cover of the Sunday Times Book Review. At Bookforum, Lisa Locascio reads the book, drawing comparisons to Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker and Hari Kunzru’s The Impressionist.
With a huge winter storm bearing down on the East Coast, the Hopkinton library in Massachusetts did the only sensible thing: they erected a sign extolling the virtues of curling up with a book. What makes theirs unique is that, unlike many of their peers, they found a way to avoid the “warm yourself up” cliché. (Previously spotted on Reddit: “What are some good books to read [in jail?]”)
Tonight at the Pacific Standard Fiction Series in Brooklyn, Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, will be reading with Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief. As usual, I’ll be hosting; it would be great to see you there. For more information, see Time Out New York.
“Eleven years later, the Atlantic Monthly editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, made a similar request to an obscure, retiring poet named Emily Dickinson who had written a letter asking if her verses ‘breathed.’ Her response was much like Melville’s, if typically elliptical: ‘Could you believe me—without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves—Would this do just as well?'” The age-old problem: how writers deal with publicity.