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.
Karan Mahajan talks to Electric Literature on doing research on how to make bombs.
I did have about twenty books about terrorism checked out, at various points, from the Columbia library, and the UT Austin library, and I worried about my privacy. I can’t say if anything changed. But, for the last two years, since finishing the novel, I’ve been selected for random searches and scans far more often than any other time since 9/11. Once I was carrying a manuscript of the novel when I was stopped for a pat-down and was terrified that the TSA might decide to give it a quick read by the luggage scanner.
Sloane Crosley shares her 10 favorite books.
“The Once and Future King,” T. H. White
As popular as this novel is among the Arthurian Legend fanatics and 13-year-old boys, I have always found it, and its author, very untrendy to love. Then Helen McDonald’s stunning “H is For Hawk” came along last year and blew up my spot. Still, I’m happy to share the love — and to know much more about T. H. White now.
Alexandra Kleeman on small joys.
I like the rainbowy swirl on top of a gasoline-tinged puddle. I like the sameness of 500 identical marigolds in a grocery store parking lot. I admire the shouting man shouting freely on a crowded public bus. It looks like it feels good to shout like that! To exercise one’s vocal cords to the max!
Claire Vaye Watkins returned to the desert and met her 17-year-old self.
I first met my 17-year-old self over email. “Hello,” she wrote. “My name is Jo Longley and I am interested in signing up for the creative writing workshop. My full name is Jo Brooke Ann Longley, although that may be more information than necessary.”
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel The Nest is a huge hit, but she can’t quite believe it yet.
When I started writing a query letter, when I was looking for an agent, I thought, “I’m sunk!” The book takes place in New York City, it references the publishing world, there’s a literary agent as a character, there’s a fiction writer–I thought, no one is even going to ask to read this thing, or they’re going to read the first ten pages and get to the literary agent having a conversation with Bea, and I kept joking with Bret that they were going to leave it on the subway, on a subway bench. I just thought, I really thought, man, this is not the way to write a book that someone’s going to be interested in.
New fiction by Sofia Samautar called Cities of Emerald, Deserts of Gold.
I live in a city. I have a horror of emptiness. I avoid the golden lands, where the wind travels alone for miles, like sunflower-colored Kansas, whose fields, cropped close in the autumn, resemble the hair of a blond military recruit. I have a horror of emptiness, the military, and on some days even blondness. I keep to the coasts, where the cities flash their greenish windows. When I travel from coast to coast — for example, to visit my mother — I never take the train through the golden lands. I fly.