Thursday, September 25, 2014

Recommended Reading: The Fringe of Reality

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Trouble with Writing

The trouble with writing is that it’s a dynamic balancing act, we are always seesawing between concentration and interruption, grandiosity and despair.   The trouble with writing is that there are long dry stretches in the ugly stage, and the rewards, when they come, may not come when we need them the most. The trouble with writing is that even when some of our dreams and hopes and expectations do come true, they don’t relieve the difficulty of writing, or the solitude of writing, or the weird rollercoaster emotions of writing.
The trouble with writing is writing.
via The Millions

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Business of Literature

Publishing has no particular ability to discern what is good or not, what is successful or not. This is true not just at the level of predicting commercial success, but also at predicting critical success. I already discussed great writers who almost vanished, books that slipped through the corporate-publisher cracks, and then between the indie cracks. If one could predict a Pulitzer Prize winner, why did Bellevue Literary Press end up with Paul Harding’s Tinkers, or Soft Skull end up with Lydia Millet’s Love in Infant Monkeys, which was a finalist that year too? If great editors could predict National Book Award winners, why did McPherson & Co. publish Lords of Misrule, or if editors could predict PEN Award winners, why did Red Lemonade publish Vanessa Veselka’s Zazen?
--VQR

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What is innovative fiction?

One of the many goals of innovative fiction seems to be to rattle those received narratives, which is to say rattle those received structures. It does so, not simply to have fun (although there is almost always an element of the joyously ludic at play in the innovative), and not merely to examine its navel (although there is almost always an element of serious self-consciousness at play in the innovative), but rather to remind us that there are always profoundly important alternative ways to tell ourselves, our lives, our experiences of experience

Monday, September 15, 2014

Murakami on the game of literature

 "I think serious readers of books are 5% of the population. If there are good TV shows or a World Cup or anything, that 5% will keep on reading books very seriously, enthusiastically. And if a society banned books, they would go into the forest and remember all the books. So I trust in their existence. I have confidence."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist announced

Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist

Joshua Ferris (US) - To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian) - The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (US) - We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent's Tail) 

 Howard Jacobson (British) - (Jonathan Cape)

Neel Mukherjee (British) - The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

Ali Smith (British) - How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hans Bolland refuses Pushkin award

"Every connection between him [Putin] and me, his name and the name of [Alexander] Pushkin, is disgusting and intolerable for me."

Hats off to you, Hans. By the way, Hans Bolland has brought some of Russia's greatest literary works to Dutch bookshelves.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Autumn Feast of Fiction

The British book industry is responding with energy to the suggestion that ebooks have dumbed down their business. With a renewed faith in serious print content, the major publishing houses are to put their best men and women out in the field.

All big names: Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Will Self, David Mitchell,Howard Jacobson, Murakami, Ali Smith, blah blah.

To be honest, I don't feel any excitement. I've only some interest in Martin Amis's "The Zone of Interest."

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