We go to casinos to tell the everyday world that we will not submit. — NPR has an excerpt from Colson Whitehead’s new book, The Noble Hustle.
For the most part, the scariest thing you can do in a choose your own adventure book is choose to enter a cave. At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg shows us what choose your own adventure would’ve looked like if it were historically accurate. “It is daytime. Turn to page 19. Page 19: You have died in childbirth.”
If I called to you now. If I carried your name to the skateparks
and railroad temples of rust, would you come to me, brother,
wherever you are in your faded arrangements,
your growing away from the past? — Recommended Reading: The Missouri Review’s new poem of the week, Kai Carlson-Wee’s “Jesse James Days,” which also won its 2013 Editors’ Prize.
Although Gabriel García Márquez died last week, there might be a new story on the way. According to his editor, Márquez left behind one manuscript, “We’ll See Each Other in August,” that he didn’t intend to publish, and his family is still deciding whether to honor his wishes.
Near the end of the novel, the Queen makes arrangements concerning the house, which she keeps secret from the entire family: “We were as separated from her,” the narrators say, “as always, living on there, awaiting her decisions, with everything that happened heightened with the poignancy and solemnity of an old tale.” That poignancy and solemnity is the effect of deliberate, patient craftsmanship. Moreover, the craftsmanship here is consummate. — John Yargo, “Undomesticated: On Joan Chase’s During the Reign of the Queen of Persia”
Shakespeare invented more than 1,000 words when he was writing, and now we might be able to find out how. Two New York booksellers believe they have found Shakespeare’s annotated dictionary, John Baret’s An Alvearie or Quadruple Dictionarie. Although scholars aren’t quite convinced, you can read the dictionary in full to decide for yourself.
You don’t become a war reporter because you love war. You report on war because it expands and complicates our idea of what war is. As a Nigerian-American who lives in the United States, I would like to complicate our sense of what Nigeria is, of what Lagos is, of what Africa is like. So that’s why I write about it. Not because I hate it. Not because I’m from there. I’m working on my second book on it, and it probably won’t be my last. — Teju Cole in conversation with Paul Morton “You Can’t Avert Your Eyes: The Millions Interviews Teju Cole”
Wearily, moving his feet because he had nothing else to do, Christopher went on down the road, hating the trees that moved slowly against his progress, hating the dust beneath his feet, hating the sky, hating this road, all roads, everywhere. He had been walking since morning, and all day the day before that, and the day before that, and days before that, back into the numberless line of walking days that dissolved, seemingly years ago, into the place he had left, once, before he started walking. — The New Yorker has published another recently discovered Shirley Jackson short story “The Man in the Woods," a fairy tale that takes on some classic mythology. According to her son, it’s one of many new stories found in her archives, and we can expect a new collection next year. "What was surprising to us was not that she was so prolific and had left behind so much unseen work but, rather, the quality of that work," Laurence Jackson Hyman said.
But by the far the most influential contribution Eggers has made on the literary landscape is McSweeney’s, the so-called “Quarterly Concern” that has, for the last 15 years, produced some of the most original fiction and nonfiction out there, all packaged in some of the most beautiful and innovative book designs ever printed. Who is this young man? We didn’t know, but when it became clear what it was that he was doing, we all became very interested in his doings. — Jonathan Russell Clark,”When It Becomes Clear What It Is That They Will Be Doing, I Will Be Very Interested in Their Doings: On The Best of McSweeney’s”
Recently, it seemed hard to find a book not blurbed by Gary Shteyngart. He did blurb 150 books in the past decade. Yet now the author has decided to mostly retire from blurbing, he announced in The New Yorker. “Literature can and will go on without my mass blurbing. Perhaps it may even improve.” Pair with: Our own Bill Morris’s essay on whether or not to blurb.