Writing is a bit like inflating a vast oxygen tent contained by a thin filmy membrane. Each time I write I have to breathe life into this, slowly blowing it larger and larger, making it more and more substantial, giving it shape. The sound of anyone’s voice, an approaching step, arrests me. I waver, and the whole filmy construct trembles, shudders, and then deflates, sliding into nothingness. It’s gone. — Roxana Robinson on the writer’s need for solitude.
Like the narrator of Norman Rush’s Mating, who was “overdetermined” for life in Africa, you could say that I — product of an evangelical Christian upbringing and Korean heritage of stoic endurance — was overdetermined for Lampedusa. His elevation of natural appetite as an ideal, and his vision for unity between body and spirit in their fullest expressions, radiate from the page. When I read Lampedusa the sun bursts up indeed, thawing all of that deeply seeded “puritanical horror,” as Warner puts it, and reconciling life forces that, as Lampedusa attempts to show us, were never meant to be opposed. — Sonya Chung reviews a new collection of Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa’s fiction.
There’s a new edition of The Sun Also Rises, complete with a previously unpublished opening chapter-and-a-half, but Jonathan Goldman argues the new text only emphasizes the novel’s unsavory undertones.
Indie webcomic Abstruse Goose proposes a new ‘Sudoku Comics Challenge’ we can actually get behind: stories with more than one logical beginning and ending. Anyone up for writing a Sudoku haiku?
What better spokesman for the bloviating apostles of disruptive online education than a man who can say with a straight face: ‘I hope we are all ready to leave the phenomenal world and enter into the sublime?’ — Why Donna Tartt’s Julian Morrow, Vladimir Nabokov’s Timofey Pnin,and five other professors of campus novels would make exemplary and/or horrific MOOC professors today.
Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt, and Richard Powers are the first crop of Americans to be featured on a Booker Prize longlist, announced today. The whole longlist here.
The puritan impulse teaches us that every eccentricity is a weapon that threatens the state and that threatens oneself. [John] Waters’s oeuvre up to this point teaches that every eccentricity is absolutely a weapon that threatens the state but also a means of ennobling and even saving oneself. — Paul Morton writes about “John Waters's America” and his new book, Carsick.
David Mitchell spent last week tweeting a new story, “The Right Sort,” line by line. Now The Millions exclusively has the entire story collected in one place.
Diverse comic books for diverse experiences: Deji Bryce Olukotun writes about the work of Gene Luen Yang and the importance of having “our own personal superhero”