Says novelist Marlon James (A Brief History Of Seven Killings): “One of my formative influences as a writer is Dickens, and I still consider myself a Dickensian in as much as there are aspects of storytelling I still believe in—plot, surprise, cliffhangers. I still believe you should make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait. In many ways I’m an old-fashioned novelist. I have a rule when I’m writing, which comes from my love of Victorian novels, that at the end of a writing day [I ask myself,] is there anything that made me go, ‘Wow, I did not see that coming’? And if there’s not I continue writing until there is. The risk you run is melodrama. But you have to risk it.” Here.
“The miners’ journey into the underworld and their miraculous return is an epic tale for all time.” Here‘s a review of Héctor Tobar’s Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free.
“From Asia to Central America, a new generation of Nellie Blys and Ida Tarbells, Seymour Hershes and Rachel Carsons, is breaking one big story after another with equal parts old-fashioned shoe leather and twenty-first-century knowhow.” Here‘s the view from Anya Schiffrin’s Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism from Around the World.
“In Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, [Atul] Gawande, a longtime staff writer for the New Yorker, takes on the utter failure of the medical profession when it comes to helping people die well, and the short-sightedness of the elder facilities that infantilize people rather than bother to figure out what they actually need to maintain a modicum of meaning in what’s left of their lives.” Here.
Little Big Man at 50. Here.
“The hungriest Americans had a choice between begging, stealing and starving; apple pie was out of the question. During this period, [Katherine] Turner explains, working people struggled through long, overlapping shifts, sharing beds in homes or boarding houses with insufficient sanitation, especially in urban slums. Homes were often without kitchens, cooking equipment (pots and pans were, relatively speaking, far more expensive then than they are now) or refrigeration, resulting in a general reliance on convenience food, the “street food” of the time – albeit without the consistency or safety we have come to expect of today’s fast food.” Here‘s a review of How the Other Half Ate: A History of Working-Class Meals at the Turn of the Century.
“Reveals the degree of vitriol unleashed against the president of the Confederacy from fellow Southerners who accused him of arrogance and malice due to the fact that he could not marshal the wherewithal to win the war.” Here’s a review of James M. McPherson’s Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief.
“His detective confronts his own—and his country’s—tortured past and the legacy of Apartheid.” Here‘s Deon Meyer (Cobra).
Says Gary Shteyngart (Little Failure): “When I was growing up, when I went to Stuyvesant High School, Chinese kids would hide in the bathroom eating squid. But now that food is totally hip! The world has really changed, and nowadays one no longer feels the way that I did being Russian.” Here.