Lit Links | 8.2016

Lit Links

An end-of-the-month round-up of links that lead to interesting things happening in the world of literature and pop culture.

  • “Most of us who embark on a long hike do so seeking change, buoyed by the almost-magical hope that we can walk ourselves into a new body or a new state of mind. But when it actually takes place, the experience of transformation can be unnerving.” | Robert Moor, author of On Trails: An Exploration, on hiking the Appalachian Trail.
  • “Mather’s ancestors, respectively, came over on the Mayflower, instigated the Salem Witch Trials, lived in Sleepy Hollow, and survived the sinking of the Titanic. They have experienced everything from failed inventions to the first American-born presidency at Harvard. So, when you write a character who hails from the controversy that is Cotton Mather, your best bet is to try and rejumble the picture, right?” | “When a Descendent of Witch Hunters Writes a Novel About Salem” – about Adriana Mather’s young adult novel How to Hang a Witch.
  • “We love reading about nature for the same reason naturalists love being ankle-deep in marshes: Nature provides enough order to soothe and enough entropy to surprise…We read the work of naturalists to capture that sense of discovery made familiar. They present worlds we’ve never seen, and make us care as if they were our own backyards.” | “The Workings Of Nature: Naturalist Writing And Making Sense Of The World” by Genevieve Valentine, featuring several titles, including The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf and Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks (a book I recently read and loved).
  • The Man Booker Prize Longlist has been announced.
  • “I wanted to write about Spain, and about London in the 1960s, and about art. My approach to the historical research was the same, but my impulses to write this book were very different. I was chasing something different.” | Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, interviewed by BookPage.
  • “This is a show built around a single catastrophe which, in turn, brings countless others to light. No one reacts stupidly, no one has all the answers, and the ending is as satisfying as it is untidy and unresolved. It’s an intensely well-crafted, immensely satisfying eight hours of TV and one that continually serves you familiar ingredients in a very new and different way.” | One take on the Netflix show Stranger Things.
  • “I’m an exposure agent, trying to get the word out. I feel that the language of books and what they represent in our lives is important in our culture.” | Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is the next Oprah Winfrey book club pick (but you probably already knew that).
  • “…much like Hughes in Birthday Letters, McKeon explores love through its relationship to language.” | A review of Belinda McKeon’s novel, Tender. [Find it in NOBLE]
  • “Entering his fourth season with the Seattle Seahawks, defensive end Michael Bennett wants to try something new with his teammates: a book club.” | Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is up first.
  • “When Bishop’s lover Alice Methfessel passed away, her heir found a locked box containing some of Bishop’s photographs and personal documents, including three remarkable letters she wrote to her psychiatrist, Dr. Ruth Foster, in 1947. These letters were written at a crucial moment of Bishop’s career, and their discovery calls for a reassessment of her lyric development and legacy. But their intensely private nature also raises questions about the ethics of archival reconnaissance. Scholar Lorrie Goldensohn, who first wrote of the discovery in January 2015, noted that the letters appear to have been carefully copied and preserved, perhaps by Bishop herself. The poet might have wished her oeuvre to be understood by a future generation alongside the secrets that, in her lifetime, she kept so carefully from view. Biography, when it resists hagiography, can’t help but adjust the light in which we assess a writer’s art. In Bishop’s case, the light limns astonishing shadows.” | On poet Elizabeth Bishop, in anticipation of a new biography, Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, due out Feb 2017.