Elizabeth Strout: “My theory is that most people need to be told what to like because they haven’t been given the confidence from a young age to go ahead with their ideas. Everybody has instincts but they get muted at such a young age. So we get used to being told what to like, what to read, what to think.”
Lionel Shriver claims Edith Wharton as a kindred spirit.
Marilynne Robinson‘s 2009 Terry Lectures on man and religion, which seemed to generate some confusion about what she was on about, will be published next month in the book Absence of Mind. Andrew Sullivan has a quote.
Around for a while, but new to me: A gallery of smartly, provocatively designed book covers from the 1950s to the present. I’m not sure you could get away with that 1969 cover of Kurt Vonnegut‘s Mother Night anymore.
Amy Hempel is the guest editor of the latest issue of the Alaska Quarterly Review, which contains an essay with the intriguing title of “How to Write a Good Sentence: A Manual for Writers Who Know How to Write Correct Sentences.”
On a perhaps related note: Michelle Kerns, who’s doing more than anybody to agitate against book reviewing cliches, is going to start quantifying the problem.
Iguana hunting with Ernest Hemingway.
A visit to Zora Neale Hurston‘s hometown of Eatonville, Florida.
Glenn Beck‘s forthcoming novel imagines America consumed by a civil war. It may not win awards or save publishing, but there’s a good chance it’ll generate a nationwide spike in comment threads full of crazy.