Ray Bradbury: “Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember. The great religions are all metaphor.”
Nathan Englander on his relative disinterest in historical accuracy in fiction: “So if a reader wants to write in and say, ‘There’s no way that an Egyptian soldier ever accidentally sat down with an Israeli soldier because they were wearing identical French-supplied uniforms,’ I’d feel comfortable responding, ‘That may generally be true, but it definitely happened once—because it happened to Shimmy Gezer. It says so right there in paragraph two.'”
Parsing the strangeness of Walker Percy‘s Lost in the Cosmos.
Gerald Early discusses jazz in literature the upsides of urban fiction with the Bad Plus’ Ethan Iverson. (via)
An in-progress illustrated version of Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian (via).
Given a sizable enough advance, Michael Chabon would write a nonfiction book on baseball.
A new book of scholarship on Ralph Ellison reveals that the hero of Invisible Man had a wife in early drafts of the novel.
Yiyun Li on why her books haven’t been translated into Chinese: “Just from a literary point of view, my stories rely on space: what you say and what you don’t. It doesn’t work to translate them. I would have to rewrite a lot, which I don’t want to do. I’m not going to rush into that.”
It’s been years since I thought to track down a copy of Cometbus, then a Berkeley-centric fanzine dedicated to the personal essays and fiction by its author, Aaron Cometbus; once upon a time I was in a mood to overstate things and called him the Great Bay Area Writer. Not quite, but I’m happy to hear he’s still writing.
I’m working on a series of Q&As with literary websites for Critical Mass, the blog of the National Book Critics Circle. The latest one, with C. Max Magee of The Millions, is now up.
Matterhorn author Karl Marlantes on Eudora Welty‘s influence: “When I read her book, Delta Wedding, about 30 years ago it taught me the power of literature. She said to me, through that book, ‘Karl, this is worth doing.’ ”
A blogger, perhaps having lost a bar bet, is spending 117 days reading James Patterson: “[W]hen I was timing how long it took me to read each chapter, I realized that they were all readable in under 2 minutes, placing them conveniently within the space of a 2-minute commercial break on television. Coincidence? Maybe.” (via)
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Good thing that Ellison abandoned the wife aspect. The protagonist’s social alienation wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling with a partner.