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.
Curtis Sittenfeld talks about rewriting Pride & Prejudice and the female-friendly packaging of her books.
It bothers me a tiny bit. It doesn’t keep me up at night. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t mind if my book covers were more gender neutral. I’ve had the same publisher since Prep came out, which is Random House, and I think Random House works very hard to come up with covers that will appeal to a broad audience. Sometimes I make suggestions of covers that are a little quirkier or weirder, and those do not end up appearing on the book.
Don DeLilo is the man of the hour with his newest novel Zero K. The Millions talked to him about cryonics, writing White Noise and growing older.
It’s funny, I have a very dim memory of White Noise. I’ve never had reason to re-read it. It was, I don’t know, 30 years ago. I don’t know much of what happens in that book. I even had a little difficulty recently trying to remember the main character’s name. I understand what you’re saying, of course. But it’s pure coincidence, the connection between these two books.
Sam Sattin on writing comics as a novelist.
I treated my comics with more care and attention than anything else I owned, buttressed by a passion for novels of all sorts. I moved gradually towards writing prose as I entered college, and years later in 2009, after spending years writing League of Somebodies, a novel about superheroes inspired by the likes of Michael Charon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but with added heaps of absurdity, I got it into mind that as opposed to writing fiction about comics, I should probably start making them myself.
Lydia Millet shares the origin story of her new novel Sweet Lamb of Heaven.
I don’t remember exactly, but I remember saying to my friend, the writer Jenny Offill, “I have the worst idea for a book! It’s the single-worst idea for a book I’ve ever had!” She said, “Pray tell.” Her own ideas are rarely bad. I said, “See, there’s a baby. And God speaks through it! It’s a terrible idea, isn’t it? I can’t wait to write it.” I elaborated a bit, and Jenny encouraged me. That’s what friends are for.
Ruth Ozeki wrote an essay for a trilogy that centers around the face and for which she stared at her own image for three hours.
I think I saw it as an exercise in stoicism, rather than narcissism. Narcissism is primarily about self-love, about deriving pleasure or gratification from self-admiration, and I did not expect to derive pleasure or gratification from the observation. Quite the opposite. I expected it would be a somewhat arduous practice of facing my fears, and while I thought it might yield interesting results, I fully expected it to be difficult and somewhat painful, which it was. Indeed, the most pleasurable moment was when it was over!
The perpetual solitude of the writer by Adam Haslett.
One of the paradoxes of writing is that in order to fulfill the urge to communicate something to others, you end up spending huge amounts of time on your own. In the case of a book, it adds up to years of solitude, some of it satisfying, even pleasurable, much of it wretched and menaced by doubt.
Jessica Crispin on why she shut down Bookslut and her thoughts on the current state of the industry.
Part of the reason why I disengaged from it is I just don’t find American literature interesting. I find MFA culture terrible. Everyone is super-cheerful because they’re trying to sell you something, and I find it really repulsive. There seems to be less and less underground. And what it’s replaced by is this very professional, shiny, happy plastic version of literature.