Millions Millions

Jul 30

“Transport yourself to a storm-lashed villa on Switzerland’s Lake Geneva. There, sitting in front of a roaring fire, is Percy Shelley, Mary soon-to-be-Shelley Godwin, Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron… This privileged, literary bunch has been driven indoors by unseasonably cold weather, driving rain, and spectacular thunderstorms—all due to Mount Tambora, although of course they don’t know it. Bored and perhaps tired of reciting poetry, they decide to have a contest for who can tell the best ghost story.” — How a volcanic eruption in the East Indies triggered a “year without summer”: crop failure, famine, and, it turns out, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Jul 29

20 Under 40 alum and A Better Angel author Chris Adrian teamed up with Eli Horowitz to publish a digital novel with Atavist Books. The novel, titled The New World, employs new storytelling techniques made possible by Atavist software. It’s worth remembering here that the first book Atavist published was written by fellow 20-Under-40er Karen Russell.

20 Under 40 alum and A Better Angel author Chris Adrian teamed up with Eli Horowitz to publish a digital novel with Atavist Books. The novel, titled The New World, employs new storytelling techniques made possible by Atavist software. It’s worth remembering here that the first book Atavist published was written by fellow 20-Under-40er Karen Russell.

Can’t wait for Haruki Murakami’s new novel? You’re in luck: Slate just published an exclusive excerpt from the book. Sample quote: “No matter how quiet and conformist a person’s life seems, there’s always a time in the past when they reached an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives.” (You could also read Ben Dooley’s review of 1Q84.)

Can’t wait for Haruki Murakami’s new novel? You’re in luck: Slate just published an exclusive excerpt from the book. Sample quote: “No matter how quiet and conformist a person’s life seems, there’s always a time in the past when they reached an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives.” (You could also read Ben Dooley’s review of 1Q84.)

“I’m always inspired because I’m alive. It’s a gift to be able to do this. I don’t need outside inspiration. I need time. And if, and when, I get it, I use it. It would scare me to have all day long to write. I need pockets of time, spaces where it is tempting to write before the clock strikes the end. That’s where poems are born for me, when time is so compressed that the idea sparks out.” — Our own Nick Ripatrazone has been on a roll lately. Apart from the many articles he’s written for The Millions, he’s got a forthcoming collection of short fiction that includes works he published in Esquire and The Kenyon Review. He also published a new poem, “South Africa, 1988,” at The Nervous Breakdown, which you can read in conjunction with his self-interview.

If you’re like me, you probably assumed you’d never read the phrase “George Saunders in O, the Oprah Magazine”, but this is where his latest short story has turned up. In the story, the author imagines what he’d say to an alien who asks him what it’s like to be human. For more on his work, go read our own Elizabeth Minkel on his legacy and recent collection.

If you’re like me, you probably assumed you’d never read the phrase “George Saunders in O, the Oprah Magazine”, but this is where his latest short story has turned up. In the story, the author imagines what he’d say to an alien who asks him what it’s like to be human. For more on his work, go read our own Elizabeth Minkel on his legacy and recent collection.

After the Times Magazine published their interview with Roxane Gay — in which the Bad Feminist author and Year in Reading alum delves into the title of her latest book and talks about her love of Sweet Valley High — the crew at McSweeney’s dug up a humor piece the author published in 2010. If you can read the title without laughing, you are more stoic than I am: “I Am Going to Cook a Quiche in My Easy-Bake Oven and You Are Going to Like It.”

After the Times Magazine published their interview with Roxane Gay — in which the Bad Feminist author and Year in Reading alum delves into the title of her latest book and talks about her love of Sweet Valley High — the crew at McSweeney’s dug up a humor piece the author published in 2010. If you can read the title without laughing, you are more stoic than I am: “I Am Going to Cook a Quiche in My Easy-Bake Oven and You Are Going to Like It.”

"Appalachian literature plays an elegaic refrain. It is a literature of dislocation and transition and survival." On Rose McLarney.

"Appalachian literature plays an elegaic refrain. It is a literature of dislocation and transition and survival." On Rose McLarney.

Out this week: The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman; Charleston by Margaret Bradham Thornton; Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya; The Home Place by Carrie La Seur; Lucky Us by Amy Bloom; and Tigerman by Nick Harkaway (which I wrote about for our Great 2014 Book Preview). Support The Millions: Bookmark this link and start there when you shop at Amazon.

Out this week: The Angel of Losses by Stephanie FeldmanCharleston by Margaret Bradham ThorntonPanic in a Suitcase by Yelena AkhtiorskayaThe Home Place by Carrie La SeurLucky Us by Amy Bloom; and Tigerman by Nick Harkaway (which I wrote about for our Great 2014 Book Preview). Support The Millions: Bookmark this link and start there when you shop at Amazon.

Jul 28

The music of the thirties and forties—swing, the rise of pure jazz, even honky-tonk—was glorious. We can’t wipe out Bing Crosby’s cloying croon, but the rise of Hank Williams, Sr., makes up for Bing. The creators of “Orange Is the New Black” knew what they were doing when they included “I Saw the Light.” It moves all listeners, regardless of belief or lack thereof. The joy and genius of Fats Waller, the growl of Big Joe Turner, the irresistible combination of Billie Holiday and Count Basie (and of Billie Holiday and Artie Shaw) are ornaments on a period of exceptional music, and diving into it was one of the great pleasures of my listening, and writing, life. These songs, these voices, and the great instrumentals still resonate with me, and that’s why each chapter title is a song from that period.

I would like to have been there.

” — We hear a lot about the books writers read while drafting their own novels and stories. But we don’t hear as much about the music, TV shows and other forms of art that kept them going throughout the process. At Page-Turner, Amy Bloom catalogues the influences on her latest novel.

It’s the kind of niggling question that drives a writer mad: is it best to edit a piece after you finish a draft, or is it better to edit while you write? At Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel argues for the latter, on the grounds that it lets writers fix endemic problems before it’s too late. You could also read Lincoln’s 2010 Millions review of the movie Avatar.

It’s the kind of niggling question that drives a writer mad: is it best to edit a piece after you finish a draft, or is it better to edit while you write? At Electric LitLincoln Michel argues for the latter, on the grounds that it lets writers fix endemic problems before it’s too late. You could also read Lincoln’s 2010 Millions review of the movie Avatar.