Thursday, September 27, 2012

Presented without comment.

Do you think books by men and women on similar topics are received differently?
Well, over there [Eugenides points to his publisher's book shelf] I see “NW” by Zadie Smith, and I think that Zadie Smith is treated exactly like one of the literary male authors that had been brought into this category. It seems to me that there’s a difference between the kinds of books that Jonathan Franzen writes and Jodi Picoult writes — so it’s not surprising to me that they’re treated differently in terms of review coverage or literary coverage. I don’t think that’s based on gender.
I think right now probably the writer that every writer loves the most is Alice Munro. I teach with Joyce Carol Oates; I don’t think she suffers from this. To me, it’s a question of actual category writing. It was kind of a genre novel bumping up against a literary novel. I think those are actually different things. I don’t think it had to do with male or female.
Would “The Marriage Plot” have had a different cover if it was written by a woman? Something pink or frilly or less serious?
As a male you can never know and you’re not supposed to talk about it. But I have lots of female literary novelists who I don’t think would agree. I’m friendly with Meg Wolitzer and she was a big fan of “The Marriage Plot,” and she wrote something about this, and especially about the treatments of the covers. I wondered about that, if that might be true, if women get treated differently in the way that their covers are marketed. You know, it’s possible.
To me, it was a little bit … I didn’t really know why Jodi Picoult is complaining. She’s a huge best-seller and everyone reads her books, and she doesn’t seem starved for attention, in my mind — so I was surprised that she would be the one belly-aching. There’s plenty of extremely worthy novelists who are getting very little attention. I think they have more right to complain. And it usually has nothing to do with their gender, but just the marketplace.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Zadie Smith Guide to NW

This is amazing. Penguin features an interactive tour through the real-world locations of NW, narrated by Zadie Smith. Go forth and explore!

Source: Ryan Chapman

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Castle of Otranto

Generally regarded as the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto is also completely absurd. Basically? It's the book equivalent of a hysterical stranger in a velvet suit hurriedly whispering to you from behind a curtain before pushing you down an unending set of stone stairs. Moving portraits! Giant helmets! Eternal melancholy! Let's marry each other's daughters! 

Thoroughly bizarre and recommended. It's also exceedingly worth reading about. Horace Walpole initially claimed credit as translator instead of author, claiming the story had been translated "from the Original Italian of Onuphirio Muralto."


Friday, September 7, 2012

After Dark, Haruki Murakami

Purchase online here.
"In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount."

From an interview with Murakami at Random House:

All of your characters, both in this book and in previous novels, display a really interesting appreciation for jazz, classical, and rock music. What musical pieces would you include on a Murakami playlist of sorts that would represent the range of music in your books?
Music is an indispensable part of my life. Whenever I write a novel, music just sort of naturally slips in (much like cats do, I suppose.) When I was writing my newest novel, After Dark, the melody of Curtis Fuller's "Five Spot After Dark" kept running through my head. Music always stimulates my imagination. When I'm writing I usually have some Baroque music on low in the background chamber music by Bach, Telemann, and the like.