Are you interested in the thoughts and lives of the bookish people of today? Don’t look any further and read the best interviews of the week.
Even though we had interviews with both of them last week, we couldn’t keep this gem from you. Jenny Offill and Lydia Millet interview each other and talk about women in literature and funny novels.
Maybe our anointed literary books just have to be earnest ones because earnest ones showcase that soupçon of intelligence. Maybe humor isn’t felt to indicate a genuine commitment to looking smart.
Helen deWitt was interviewed by Bomb Magazine. Her personal library is on display in New York and aren’t you curious about what you’ll find in there?
For some reason, if you are a writer, the place where you have a meeting is always a café, bar, or restaurant—a place where surfaces are taken up with drinks or food.
Matt Bell gets asked some questions about video and table top games and his upcoming book Baldur’s Gate II. What a lovely, nerdy interview.
Rather than the kind of fleshed-out round characters we’re used to in most novels, where characters come with explicit full psychological motivations and backstories and so on, Gorion’s Ward is given very few traits when the story opens, just a sketch of a past and a handful of starting statistics and skills that do not by themselves create character.
Meg Wolitzer discusses why it is that teenage girls are drawn to stories and characters with mental illness. Or she tries to explain her own obsession with Plath?
I remember being absorbed by a character’s turbulent inner life, and then walking around my house, book in hand, feeling as if I was in a dreamy, moody haze, like someone who can’t quite shake off a bad dream.
Jeff vanderMeer talks about the music that he relates to his very cool Southern Reach Trilogy.
Some of the songs might not be ones I’d listen to while writing, but that’s a different context than reading the books. There’s also a true subjectivity to reading the Southern Reach, I’ve found. There’s an imaginative space carved out for readers that leads to different interpretations, and it’s interesting how the playlists kind of reflect that shifting perspective.
Julia Eliot’s collection of short stories The Wilds is making the rounds on the internet. Vol. 1 Brooklyn talks with her about the collection and her upcoming novel.
I’m a long-winded type who has to be kept in check. Most of these stories are actually pared down, as the original drafts where long enough to be unpublishable in lit journals. I wish I could write leaner, meaner stories that get the job done with a lower word count, but I just can’t seem to pull it off.
We still haven’t gotten around to reading Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, but Kirkus has declared it as one of the best books of the year. They ask Oyeyemi about her book and the wisdom she put into it.
“Beauty,” she explains, “is either the deadliest facet of the sublime or it means nothing at all.” And yet Oyeyemi admits that she found such cut-and-dry logic surprising coming from her characters’ mouths. “As I wrote it, I thought, gosh, there’s no in-between with these girls.”