Rereading? Sure. Paying close attention to the author’s words? Great idea. But pretending that one’s knowledge is not relevant to interpreting a text conflicts with how writers write and with how readers read.
Writers count on their audience to bring knowledge to bear on the text.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
Counterpoint to New Criticism's dictum that literary criticism must be based on only the writer's words, not the reader's outside knowledge
Library Journal Famously Firsts | Fall/Winter 2014/15 First Novels
ALL AUTHORS HAVE STORIES, and the authors on this list have first stories—debut novels published in the fall 2014/winter 2015 season that are proving to be the most exciting of a big, big bunch. All authors also have backstories, as evidenced by our cover, which features a handful of debut authors whose own life stories are particularly colorful and well known. Fiction titles don’t come out of nowhere but—if they’re any good—are suffused with an author’s particular background, perspective, experience, and skill.
News from Rutgers Balancing Literature and Medicine, a Rutgers Graduate Finds a Healing ...
As he begins the eight-year odyssey of medical studies and residency, however, Tran’s love for literature continues to play a central role in his life. And it may even end up shaping his approach to medicine.
Initially torn between medical school and graduate studies in English, Tran chose medicine after discovering the emerging narrative medicine movement, which stresses the role of listening, interpreting, and reflecting in the relationships between doctor and patient. Tran met personally during his senior year with Rita Charon, who runs the program in narrative medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
In recent years, as Russia has grown politically repressive and culturally conservative, Ulitskaya’s fiction, which addresses both religion and politics, has moved in for a confrontation. Increasingly, Ulitskaya has also become a public intellectual. During the anti-Putin protests of 2011 and 2012, Ulitskaya joined the board of the League of Voters, which tried to coördinate and direct the disparate components of the protests. She continued speaking out even after the protests were crushed; by the end of this past summer, she, along with a handful of other writers and a couple of musicians, had been branded a traitor for her opposition to the war in Ukraine. The musicians in the group have had their concerts cancelled all over the country. The writers’ punishment may be slower in coming, but already Ulitskaya is the object of regular assaults by Kremlin mouthpieces in such venues as the newspaper Izvestia, which apes the rhetoric used against writers who were excommunicated by Soviet authorities, half a century ago. Like some of those writers, she is widely read outside Russia. She has amassed many of Europe’s most prestigious literary prizes, even as she has come under attack at home.
The allure and odor of books got me into this business. Small-town libraries are tough to pass by. By virtue of being readers we are also writers, I now believe, but that was not always the case. As a child I harbored the hope that, if I could write a book I might become part of the magic I found in books. Well, as some of you know, life behind the curtain exacts long hours and rarely softens reality.
As a result, I seek that magic in the work of others. The Sunshine State has produced some heavyweights: John D. MacDonald, Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Carl Hiaasen, Thomas McGuane, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Jimmy Buffet, Patrick Smith… and let’s stop there.
Here are books by writers (some lesser known; one not) I still return to when I need a lift, or instruction on the craft:
The Quietus Tomorrow And Tomorrow: Tore Renberg Interviewed
“I experienced the magic of literature”, continues Renberg. “I have been there so many times when the difference between you and the characters is diminished - you are there, for a few brief seconds. I experienced that with such a great force. Then I ran to the diary which I kept at that point. I’m so angry with myself that I didn’t continue it [the diary-writing]. There it started. I wrote like a mad man - poems, stories. I was practicing every day. I was getting best friends with literature. There was no fear left in me after those years of writing. To any one who wants to be a writer I’d say keep on going, don’t criticise yourself too much, keep at it. I suppose I was lucky to have that belief in myself - or belief in literature”.
The mysterious fall and rise of the Arab crime novel
When Egyptian novelist and photographer Ahmed Mourad was asked earlier this year, why so few Egyptians were writing crime novels, he said that the genre was new, "and anything new is usually accompanied by a lot of attack and criticism". Then Mourad paused and corrected himself by saying, in fact, the genre was not new at all.
Indeed, what's surprising is not that detective fiction is showing a sudden popularity in Cairo and beyond, with Mourad's books as top-sellers, but that the genre has been relatively dormant for the last several decades.
Gone Girl was a publishing sensation - and now David Fincher has made it into a film, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Gillian Flynn talks of how she adapted her novel into the script for this year's most anticipated film
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
Don't mistake the fiction for the author, says Gillian Flynn.
Sophie’s Choice (New York: Vintage International, 1976) was a best seller in both of its incarnations: as the 1976 novel, written by William Styron, and as the 1982 film, directed by Alan J. Pakula...
Sophie’s Choice is a marvelously narrated historical novel that succeeds, above all, as psychological fiction. Which is only fitting. For how can any novel about the Holocaust—a historical trauma of a depth beyond measure—capture the devastation of that period without delving into the personal trauma of its individual victims?
The Guardian Are we saying goodbye to Sigmund Freud and the guru-shrink?
Usually, however, pop psychology employs this vocabulary unaware of its origins or theoretical underpinnings, whereas literature and cinema have used psychoanalysis since the 1920s in a way that could hardly be more overtly Freudian, since most psychiatrist protagonists in novels and films are clearly substitutes (sometimes in drag) for Freud himself.
Add Christine Heppermann’s excellent new book, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, a volume of feminist poetry, to the list of Y.A. books that should find a readership beyond its intended teen audience.
Film School Rejects How David Cronenberg's and Samuel Fuller's New Novels Help Us Better ...
With David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl opening Friday, the often fraught relationship between narrative cinema and written fiction is in the air, and has already produced an onslaught of comparison pieces between the book and the film. A filmmaker’s relationship to an author’s vision is a tricky one that is rarely assuaged by the author’s presence in the filmmaking process – difficult-to-navigate medium-specific capacities make difficult hurdles for even the most “cinematic” novels.
But what happens when this process is inverted? And no, I’m not talking about novelizations, but the relatively rare instances in which established film directors publish novels independent of their cinematic output.
10 Books You Must Read if You Loved "Gone Girl" Cosmopolitan (blog)
Like every person I knew during the summer of 2012, I read Gone Girl as if my life depended on it. I read it at the beach, I read it while eating a salad at work, I read it past my bedtime, falling asleep with my glasses still on my face. I read it in big, hungry chunks, because it was that good. When it was over, I wanted more of what Gillian Flynn served in Gone Girl — suspenseful mysteries that excavated the female mind (or at least attempted to) in a way that I had never before read in literature. With a Gone Girl adaptation in theaters this Friday, now seems like a good time to either reread Gone Girl, or immerse yourself in a new set of satisfying psychological thrillers. Here are 10 to get you started, all of them written by women.
On his own front, Hemingway uses the novel to chronicle his path of transition into an excellent writer in literature. He details how he believes writing should be done and performed, including his inclination towards the subconscious processes involved in the task. Hemingway also uses the novel to broadcast his strong belief that truth is the key to successful writing. The theme of the book is that the best and author can do is write the truth, and that that is the only way to write something useful and productive.
Telegraph.co.uk 'Gone Girl' and the War Against Ambiguity ScreenCrush
Don’t believe the pre-release speculation – when ‘Gone Girl’ arrives in theaters this Friday (after premiering last week at the New York Film Festival), its original ending is (in spirit, if not exact detail) intact. That’s sure to rankle some of the countless readers who originally objected to Gillian Flynn’s 2012 best-seller on the basis of its conclusion. . . . The vagueness of the outcome for Nick Dunne and his missing wife Amy was a sore point for readers, who – as evidenced by things like THIS and THIS and THIS – cried foul over the absence of a resolution in which the wicked were punished, and more to the point, the couple’s future was clear. Flynn’s ambiguity was decried. Concrete answers were demanded!
In light of that chorus of disapproval, Fincher’s film (starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as Nick and Amy) is likely to be met with similar objections, especially given its faithfulness to its source material – as well as to the ever-mounting desire by pop-culture consumers to have things spelled out for them in clear-cut terms.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
NOTE: I've removed the exact spoilers here, but you might be able to infer them. DO NOT READ THIS if you haven't yet read the book or seen the film and don't want to know what happens.
BuzzFeed Books is honored to celebrate the fantastic young writers of the National Book Foundation’s 9th annual 5 Under 35, chosen by past winners and finalists of the National Book Awards. “The National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 program is about supporting a rising generation of talented authors,” said Leslie Shipman, Assistant Director of the National Book Foundation.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
I'm particularly glad to see the international focus of this list.
Biological anthropologist turns to fiction to explain the past Buffalo News
Rosanne Higgins works as a biological anthropologist and canine-care entrepreneur. Her day job as proprietor of Puppy Playpen – a family-owned day care for dogs – takes up to 60 hours each week. And as an active participant in the University at Buffalo’s Erie County Poorhouse Cemetery Project, Higgins helped research and chronicle asylum life in the 19th century.
That job led to her first nonscholarly publication, a piece of historical fiction set in 1836 Buffalo.
This Extraordinary Diary Reminds Us Why Books Matter
The New Republic
Every once in a while, however, an extraordinary document comes along to remind us that the books matter. In such a document, we can see how an individual’s preference for particular writers, and for particular themes in their works, did indeed shape an outlook conducive to moral clarity and courage. Yes, it may have been a quirk of psychology that led the individual in this intellectual direction in the first place, but what he or she found there nonetheless had a decisive effect. And while the perpetrators may have read the same books, the document also reminds us that there are better and worse ways of reading.
The diary kept by the French writer and critic Jean Guéhenno during the German occupation of France from 1940 to 1944 is one such document.
Javier Marías is one of Spain’s most celebrated novelists, a master of the form whose digressive, metaphysical books, sometimes disguised as thrillers, have made him a perpetual contender for the Nobel Prize in literature.
In Europe, his elegant, ruminative style — often compared to Proust or Henry James — has led to a towering literary reputation. One of his early books from 1992, “A Heart So White,” sold 1.3 million copies in Germany alone. His novels, admired by J.M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie and the late Roberto Bolaño, have been translated into 42 languages.
Despite these accolades and the acclaimed gifts of his English translator, Margaret Jull Costa, Mr. Marías remains something of a niche author among English-speaking readers.
Stephen King's new movie inspired by infamous killer CBS News
While he admits there's certainly "somebody fairly creepy inside" of him, he was nothing but normal when he stopped by "CBS This Morning" to talk about his career, his fears and his new movie, "A Good Marriage."
The film, which opens Oct. 3, was inspired by the infamous BTK killer, Dennis Rader.
The film's protagonist, Darcy, played by Joan Allen, discovers her husband, Bob, played by Anthony LaPaglia, isn't the man she thought he married.
"The 50 Year Argument," which airs Monday on HBO, mixes archival footage with contemporary interviews, scenes from the Review's office and highlights from an anniversary celebration at Town Hall in Manhattan in 2013. The film is co-directed by Scorsese and David Tedeschi, who edited Scorsese's documentaries on Bob Dylan and George Harrison.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
About a documentary on the "New York Review of Books"