The bookstore business is supposed to be dying, but Ann Patchett begs to differ. She discussed her independent shop, Parnassus Books, and the future of bookstores for The Daily Beast’s "How I Write" series. "I can’t remember the last time I was in a bad bookstore. The future of independent bookstores is strong. We need to be small. The day of the 30,000 square foot bookstore is over, but the day of the 3000 square foot bookstore has arrived." Patchett was also interviewed for The New York Times “By the Book” series, where she said Charlotte’s Web had such an impact on her as a kid that she got a pet pig and became a vegetarian.
The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
When The New York Times tried to ask Jhumpa Lahiri what immigrant fiction inspired her, she smacked the question down by saying there is no such thing as immigrant fiction. “If certain books are to be termed immigrant fiction, what do we call the rest? Native fiction? Puritan fiction? This distinction doesn’t agree with me. Given the history of the United States, all American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction.”
In The New York Times, Tatjana Soli gives high praise to Snow Hunters, the first novel by Once the Shore author and Best American Short Stories alumnus Paul Yoon. The novel, which tells the tale of a North Korean refugee named Yohan, proves that Yoon is “well-suited to the short form,” she writes. (Related: Soli has written for us.)
I was able to slip past everything with a pink polo,
That was from a place of love.
I knew I was going to make it this far;
I knew that this was going to happen.
If you walk into an old man’s house, they’re not giving nothing.
Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière,
Anna Wintour, David Stern. Beauty, truth,
This isn’t America’s baby.
Awesomeness. That’s all it is. I would rather sit in a factory
Than sit in a Maybach,
Trap and drill and house. Do you want me
To go onstage for you? I have, as a human being,
Fallen to peer pressure. And when you say justice,
What’s vanity about wearing a kilt?
All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness!
There’s no opera sounds, sonic acrobatics,
No minor chords. A piece of me
Being the opinionated individual that I am,
I uninvited myself. Why would you want to control
That? I didn’t realize I was new wave until
This one Corbusier lamp
That liked nice things also.
I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love,
Forever the 5-year-old of something.
The world wins, fresh kids win,
I don’t know if this is statistically right.
If you don’t make Christmas presents
The biggest glass panes that ever been done,
I think you got to make your case. Self,
That’s all I have to say. Kill sel
How it feels to be the victim of a serial plagiarist.
But why should I live in such constant terror? I take great care of myself. I have a personal trainer who has me up to 50 push-ups a month, and combined with my knee bends and situps, I can now press the 100-pound barbell over my head with only minimal tearing of my stomach wall. I never smoke and I watch what I eat, carefully avoiding any foods that give pleasure. (Basically, I adhere to the Mediterranean diet of olive oil, nuts, figs and goat cheese, and except for the occasional impulse to become a rug salesman, it works.)
Ms. Gitelman’s argument may seem like an odd lens on familiar history. But it’s representative of an emerging body of work that might be called ‘paperwork studies.’ True, there are not yet any dedicated journals or conferences. But in history, anthropology, literature and media studies departments and beyond, a group of loosely connected scholars are taking a fresh look at office memos, government documents and corporate records, not just for what they say but also for how they circulate and the sometimes unpredictable things they do.