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.
Jesse Eisenberg is a writer now, so The New York Times asked him about his reading habits.
I would like to be part of a very strict book club, if only to keep me on task. Maybe a book club run by the C.S.I. unit, where they come to the house and dust the pages for fingerprints, or the secret police, where they drill a hole in the wall to make sure I’m reading.
Amy Stewart, author of Girl Waits With A Gun, will teach you how to write historical fiction. Good primer for our next book club!
I was doing research for The Drunken Botanist and I was looking for more about this gin smuggler named Henry Kaufman, who was smuggling gin that had been tainted with strychnine. I found an article in the New York Times from 1914 about this guy Henry Kaufman, who ran his automobile into a buggy being driven by the sisters. The conflict escalated and took a year to work out, so I just had this one article about the case as it was coming to a close but I thought it was fascinating. I set aside all my plant research for the day and kept looking for more about this case.
Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie made a podcast about race, writing and relationships. Listen or read it.
It took me a while to realize I really didn’t like the Mills and Boon format, where the man decides. It’s sort of the destiny of the relationship is in the hands of the man. And it’s okay as well if they meet and don’t like each other, then he grabs her at some point and she melts. You know that idea that a woman can’t own her sexuality, can’t own her choices? So this is the anti-Mills and Boon in many ways. The women in my world don’t have to wait because they’re women.
Matt Bell’s new book Scrapper is coming out and Lit Hub shares an excerpt of it.
When his last loneliness began he’d stopped speaking in sentences and now as he moved mutely through the forest it was only external sounds that broke the silence: the sound of last dogs and last birds, the sound of wind, the sound of creaking wood and straining metal and flapping fabric. The whispered threat of more snow falling, of winter forever.
And more excerpts over at Melville House for Rachel Cantor’s new novel Good on Paper.
He wasn’t satisfied with his American publisher’s choice of translator, a big-name poet with too large an ego to be faithful to his, i.e., Romei’s, artistic conception. He’d dumped the publisher, said he’d pay for the translation himself. Now that he, like Dante, was laureato, he had money to burn, apparently.
Flavorwire interviewed Mary Shelley’s biographer Charlotte Gordon.
I loved writing the book. I felt like I had these two great teachers and friends in the Marys. I learned so much from them. I was so inspired by them. I love reading their letters and diaries.
Leslie Jamison and Ryan Spencer are collaborating on a book and Guernica talked to both of them about it.
On the level of narrative possibility, I was really drawn to the sense of aloneness that rose from so many of these images—the terrifying possibility of being the last person left on earth, or even the last person left in a neighborhood, a swamp, a freeway. That stark haunting irony of living in a world of excess that has eventually collapsed on itself, emptied out.
And we’re ending on a writing lesson from Ursula K. Le Guin, because you can never have enough of those.
The sound of the language is where it all begins. The test of a sentence is, Does it sound right? The basic elements of language are physical: the noise words make, the sounds and silences that make the rhythms marking their relationships. Both the meaning and the beauty of the writing depend on these sounds and rhythms. This is just as true of prose as it is of poetry, though the sound effects of prose are usually subtle and always irregular.