27 June 2010

From the Literary Review last week, a review of Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives, Daisy Hay’s new group biography.  (How can one resist a title like that?)

This bit from the review fascinates me, particularly the last sentence:

Hay makes clear it was the women, those in the indigent [Leigh] Hunt household, as well as the wives, lovers and muses of Shelley and Byron, who had most to lose from these experiments in living, and who frequently suffered from the scandals they provoked. Bess Kent survived to write botanical books. Mary Shelley, who continued to write fiction, became the keeper of Shelley’s reputation, editing his poems and domesticating him for Victorian sensibilities. She hoped her only surviving son would be taught to think like other people, and he duly became a conventional citizen.


24 June 2010

A nice mention from Bethanne Patrick, host of The Book Studio, on her blog:

I love literary fiction.

There. I said it. I will no longer be ashamed! I love fiction that explores questions without necessarily giving answers, that eschews happy endings for meaningful ones, and allows characters to transcend archetypal roles.

Sonya Chung believes in literary fiction, too — and it’s what she writes. Her first novel, “Long for This World,” hits another thing that I love, however:

I love fiction about other places in the world.

Is it because my parents had stacks of National Geographic magazines in the basement? Maybe it’s due to my love of actual travel, which my parents also supported.

Chung has written a book that shows Korea and Koreans in a natural light. I so enjoyed speaking with her about “Long for this World,” and I hope you will enjoy watching us, too.

23 June 2010

A new story of mine, “Good People,” is serialized at FiveChapters this week.  Today is Day Three.  Here is the link to Day One.

Update: Link to full story here.

18 June 2010

If you love both music and books and don’t yet know about largeheartedboy.com, you’re in for a treat. Music recs, book recs, free downloads of new releases, “Best of” lists — all curated by ravenous reader and music-listener David Gutowski.

Today my music playlist for Long for This World is featured in LHB’s Book Notes. This was very fun to write and has inspired me to re-ignite my music explorations, which were stuck on pause for a while.  Thanks to David for inviting me to participate.

16 June 2010

I’m a big fan of the Omnivore blog at Bookforum.  This week, a post on theater, and a couple of interesting links: At the Guardian, “Enter God, stage left,” where is religion in contemporary theatre?   and a piece about the collaborative, morphing nature of theatre, in contrast to Literature-with-a-capital-L that preserves itself in singular form (except for translations, of course).

Also, in a post called “The Limits of Control,” a link to my “Breaking up With Books” piece at The Millions, which continues to incite impassioned comments.

13 June 2010

The good people at The Nervous Breakdown invited me to be their featured fiction writer for this week; which means you have all week to catch me there.

The guys at TNB, led by intrepid founder Brad Listi, along with fiction editor Alexander Chee, are doing really smart and interesting stuff (they’ve even just launched a new publishing imprint); so I’m feeling very aw, shucks about being featured there.

I’ll direct you to their home page — because it’s very cool.  The header image cycles through the content for the week, so click on the image of me (thanks to former student/photographer Chris for the photo), and it will take you to an interview — something a little different, as far as interviews go.

Or, here’s the direct link to the interview.

In the blog section, they’ve posted the Long for This World trailer.  You’ll also see a link to an excerpt.

This feature reminds me how much of a team effort all this book marketing is.  Thanks to Brad and Alex, Chris, Connie, Lisa P., and Terry; and of course Alexis and Amy.

9 June 2010

I’ve been reading a lot of Jennifer Egan lately, and writing a little about her here.  Teaching her stories, as well.  So I jumped on the chance to read and review her newest work — a novel-in-stories — called A Visit From the Goon Squad, which hit the streets yesterday.  Read my review at The Millions.