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.”
Appearing Elsewhere: VQR Young Reviewers Contest winner and Millions contributor Emily drops by the NBCC blog to tell them what she’s been reading.The NY Times fleshes out some of the details of Google’s digitizing agreement with publishers and authors, including getting into some of the numbers involved. We explained the importance of the deal last year.At Jacket Copy Carolyn Kellogg gets Sarah Weinman to discuss the secrets behind her incredible speed-reading ability. (462 books in 2008!)Carolyn also recently highlighted all the great literary magazines that supplied the featured stories in last year’s “best of” fiction anthologies, as well as the runners up.80 years after the last one, a new Winnie the Pooh book is on its way.A timely and topical list: the Top 10 green books of 2008For the multi-tasker (or perhaps the really lazy): the book holder bracelet.”Had I an atheist friend who asked, ‘Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?’ I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead. ‘Read this,’ I’d say, ‘and it will give you a pretty good idea.'”For sports fans: Bill James on why statisticians should boycott the BCS.That perilous question: why blog?Vice did a fiction issue.David Brooks discusses some of the best long-form journalism of 2008 (with links!)The outgoing president’s surprising reading list.The Hype Machine’s impressive top albums of 2008 project.Wikipedia find of the week: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffaloA consideration of poet Jack Spicer.With apologies to William Carlos Williams, A poem for Blago.New short fiction from Horacio Castellanos Moya, author of Senselessness (via Scott)Jonathan Franzen on the Social Novel (via OUP blog)
“Perhaps postcards best capture a nostalgia inherent to the passerby.” Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato writes about literary postcards and how we imbue images with our own meanings for Ploughshares. You could also read about images that inspire authors from another one of our staffers, Edan Lepucki.
Avril Haines, the new deputy director of the CIA, had an interesting career before landing in the Langley. According to a Washington Post report, Haines used to own an independent bookstore in Baltimore, where she “welcomed patrons for the occasional readings of high-toned erotica over chicken tostadas.”
The results of this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards are in, and a debut novelist took home Favorite Book of 2011 honors. Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, thanks her fans in this video. Other notable winners include Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which won the Best Fiction and Best Humor categories, respectively. (They were also reviewed on The Millions here and here, respectively.)