At Public Libraries Online, Jane Pek discusses her debut novel, The Verifiers, which follows Claudia Lin, an amateur sleuth who investigates the potential suitors of lovelorn New Yorkers. “When I read, above all it’s about becoming invested in the character,” Pek explains. “Once I’m invested, I’ll follow them anywhere. When I started writing Claudia, I knew that I wanted to write a character that readers would feel invested in in the same way. Part of that is I felt the whole idea around her family and how that shaped her, and how she related to them was also a core part of that. I guess the book is billed as a murder mystery and an Asian American immigrant family story, so, to me, that was also a central part of the novel.”
Another big, literary title hits shelves today. Tom McCarthy turned heads with Remainder in 2007. Now he’s back with C. Posthumously published is Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey. Also newly released is Sara Gruen’s tale of bonobos and reality television: Ape House, William Gibson’s latest Zero History, and The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass. Culture mavens will be intrigued by The Official Preppy Handbook reboot True Prep. And this week’s intriguing art book is Full Bleed: New York City Skateboard Photography. And in non-fiction, Bob Dylan In America by Sean Wilentz and Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, so compellingly written up in last week’s New Yorker.
“My ear for the diction and rhythms of poetry was trained by — in chronological order — Dr. Seuss, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, the guitar solos of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, and T.S. Eliot.” Author Denis Johnson has died at age 67, reports The Washington Post. Our own Sonya Chung recommended Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back, saying “I know it will knock him out. It does (of course).”
Jaden Smith is going from an action movie career to starring in an adaptation of James McBride’s National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. Liev Schreiber will play John Brown. If you’re unsure about casting a rapper to play the protagonist, take it up with McBride, who is also producing the film.
“Post-apocalyptic books are thriving for a simple reason: The world feels more precariously perched on the lip of the abyss than ever, and facing those fears through fiction helps us deal with it.” A look at the future of post-apocalyptic fiction from NPR, with a mention of our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s Station Eleven.
“Genius” is a loaded term. Its application usually says more about the person making the judgment than it does about the genius in question. In The Guardian, Sophie Hannah argues that the term isn’t used enough to describe one writer in particular: Agatha Christie. You could also read Daniel Friedman on the terrible secret of all crime fiction.