At the Paris Review, Vinod Busjeet discusses his book, Silent Winds, Dry Seas, an autobiographical novel that balances brutal conflicts involving Indian indentured laborers in Mauritius with moments of whimsy. “It enables you to deal with such darkness,” Busjeet says. “You need to have the ability to laugh at it and laugh at yourself as well. Otherwise it’s too hard to cope. You could say it’s a kind of defense mechanism.”
Today arrives Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, Lacuna, “an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover.” Also out are a couple more of those nifty “Olive Editions” from HarperCollins, this time of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Update: There’s a new edition of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation too.
Corey Vilhauer, host of his Book of the Month Club here at The Millions, has put together a great collection of lists of greatest writers, straying outside of the purely literary realm into music, film, and other areas. He has his own top 25, as well as top tens from a number of guests.The Guardian interviews Richard Ford in anticipation of his upcoming third Frank Bascome novel, Lay of the Land. “It is quite some novelty to find myself waking up in Richard Ford’s bed,” it starts.The Boston Globe profiles John Hodgman, who, with his book The Areas of My Expertise, regular “Daily Show” appearances, and ubiquitous Mac ads is suddenly everywhere. Update: Hodgman gets interviewed by Radar.Did you know there are two books about “Jeopardy!” out right now? Brainiac is by Ken Jennings, the guy who was the game show’s champion for about six months in 2004. A somewhat wackier look at the show is Prisoner of Trebekistan by another former champion, Bob Harris. The Village Voice recently reviewed both books.
“Samuel Greenberg belongs in the pantheon of literary manqués,” writes Jacob Silverman. The poet was a favorite of Hart Crane, who described him as “a Rimbaud in embryo.” But did Crane take his adoration too far? Did he in fact “remix,” re-purpose, or plagiarize some of Greenberg’s work?