Sunday Stories: "The World's First Publicly Traded... →
This is the beginning of my husband’s novel: “To my ex-Board of Directors, I don’t know if you’ll remember me but together, just a handful of years ago, we launched an enterprise which in short order rendered me a hunted fugitive and rained upon you some combination of public humiliation, criminal and civil prosecution, financial ruin, cardiac arrest, impotency, attempted suicide...
Deciphering my notes from Adelaide Writers Week
“We are a migrant country,” the Australian author Brenda Niall said, “and the deep Australian question is, where is home?” ___ “If I absolutely had to choose a god to worship,” said the British novelist and historian Tom Holland, “I would probably choose Athena.” Later, a question from the audience: “If you could choose to have been born at any...
I will travel very long distances if there are...
I’m going to Australia soon! The distance didn’t really sink in until the wonderful festival organizer who booked my travel said something about getting me back to the other side of the world, and I realized: Right. The other side of the world. I am going to the other side of the world. (I know air travel’s one of those things that we’re just supposed to take for granted in...
Gentlemen,” he said, “… here is a truth: Enduring tedium over real...– From The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace
Four questions directed to me by the same person over the course of an evening at a reading earlier in the year (where my name and the word “novelist” were displayed prominently in the venue), in this order: 1) “Your name’s Evelyn, isn’t it?” 2) “Your name’s Elizabeth, right?” 3) “For how long have you been a poet?” [nb:...
Off On a Tangent: Life Lessons For and From the... →
I know this is six months old, but I just came across it the other day and really like it. Especially the bits about parties and narcissists and the Internet. I haven’t really gone to any parties this year, unless it’s a party that exists because a friend has just published a book, or the party and I are both attached to an out-of-town literary festival and I’m in the hotel...
-I’m living in a hotel room in Toronto this week. But first there were days and days on Vancouver Island, where my family lives. An event at North Island College, where I sold all the books I’d hauled across the continent in my carry-on luggage and saw people I knew when I was a baby in a rural place called Merville. -“We feel that you’re giving Merville short...
Best dialogue of the Midwest tour
Going through the notebook I was carrying when I was touring the Midwest a couple weeks back. The captain’s announcement from my final flight of the tour, Chicago-NYC: “On behalf of myself, our flight crew, the entire JetBlue family, and most importantly, my mortgage company, thank you for choosing JetBlue and welcome aboard.”
Just when I think my esteem for booksellers couldn’t possibly be any higher, one of them shows up in my Facebook feed with a poem. From the Facebook feed of Librairie VirginAvignon, Avignon, France: Un polar à découvrir absolument: “Dernière nuit à Montréal”, de Emily St.John Mandel. “Une petite fille en pleurs Dans une ville en pluie Et moi qui court après Et moi qui...
My French author photo is very dramatic. →
Sunday September 23, 2012
-I haven’t been updating this much lately. But I have a good excuse! I’ve been working on my new novel. I’ll talk about it when it’s done. -An email arrived the other day from the press attaché at my French publishing house. On this continent you’d call her a publicist, but everything’s more glamorous in Paris, including job titles. She sent along a bouquet of...
It was my first flight, it was magnificent, there is nothing like flying to ease...– Saul Bellow Letters, ed. by Benjamin Taylor
Martha shipped out on May 13 as the only passenger aboard a ship with a cargo of...– Baker’s Hemingway biography, on Martha Gelhorn’s WW2 Atlantic crossing
A few quick things
-Halfway through a weekend that’s almost completely devoted to writing and researching pieces for The Millions. I’m not complaining. I like writing for that site. -Something obvious that occurred to me today: I think if you’re going to do this novel-writing/day job/freelance writing thing that so many of us do, you have to really, genuinely enjoy working. -I really liked...
Friends of booksellers, assemble! →
mesjak: Word comes from my friends at the The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, Chicago, that one of their booksellers, Jon Fullmer, and his wife Amelia, have lost everything after a devastating apartment fire on May 24. Their first child is due next month. Until their renters insurance kicks in, they’ve got nothing. And not to distract from the real tragedy of losing all their day-to-day...
Django Reinhardt was a prodigy at thirteen playing the cafés of Paris. A burn...– from The Lola Quartet (via unbridledbooks)
He’d recently come out of rehab for the second time and he felt skinless, his...– from The Lola Quartet (via unbridledbooks)
“Is your character Gavin based on a vampire?” the interviewer asked. “No,” I said.
Unbridled Books: The tattoo story: →
unbridledbooks: The tattoo story: before she transferred to Gavin’s high school Anna had run away three times in search of peace and quiet or maybe in search of adventure and change, the story shifted a bit with each telling. She’d fallen in with a dangerous crowd at her old school and a police officer…
The Lola Quartet was playing “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” for the second time and a...– Emily St. John Mandel, from The Lola Quartet (via unbridledbooks)
The May 2012 Indie Next List. →
"...or even (forgive me) the Tiger?"
I posted an essay on The Millions last week about that phenomenon where a startlingly huge number of books are titled “The ___’s Daughter.” (Seriously, once you start noticing them, they’re everywhere.) It took forever, but it was fun to write. I broke out the PowerPoint. There are wildly unscientific graphs and an honest-to-god pie chart. Now, I bent over backwards in...
Off On a Tangent: Controversy, in Quotes →
offonatangent: “I am not a reporter and I have never claimed to be a reporter, and the magazine took on this project with the understanding that I have no interest in pretending to be a reporter or producing journalism.” — John D’Agata, to Jim Fingal “What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are…
Favourite lyric from the new Leonard Cohen album:
“Come on baby, give me a kiss Stop writing everything down…”
He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random,...– From One Day, by David Nicholls
Ladies and gentlemen, Blaise Cendrars:
INTERVIEWER: What do you read at present? CENDRARS: The latest book I’ve discovered is the great dictionary of the Customs Administration that we owe to an edict of Vincent Auriol, then Minister of Finance. It is entitled Répertoire général du tarif and appeared in 1937. Two volumes quarto. Weight fifty kilos. I take them every place with me because I’m going to need them some day soon...
I was in New Orleans for the ABA’s Winter Institute 7 this week. The above link contains photographic evidence that a) I was there b) I own AN ACTUAL SUIT, which I wish I had more excuses to wear c) I have an enormous head. It was an honor to be imported to Winter Institute again and I fell in love with New Orleans. It was difficult to leave there this morning, mostly for weather-related...
Did I already post this quote? I’m not sure. I am sleep-deprived and am too tired (by which I mean too lazy) to check. Sorry if this is repetitive. But anyway, I was just putting together a reading list for The Millions for that annual Year in Reading thing we do over there, and came across one of my favourite passages in all of literature. From Lars Iyer’s debut novel Spurious: ...
If I were making rules for journalists, I’d make them simpler. They would be: 1)...– Lisa Simeone and NPR’s executive cowardice | Dan Gillmor | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk (via mesjak)
All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even...– James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues
Story of my life:
“When you are self-taught, you get a lot of things wrong. You mispronounce words because you never actually heard anyone speak those words aloud.” -from Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia
A new essay on The Millions: Irène Némirovsky,... →
A few quick things:
The title of the third novel will be The Lola Quartet. Final revisions on the above. I have a long commute to the day job and the newer trains don’t have enough seating, so I spend a lot of time braced against an end door in the New York City subway with a pen in one hand and bits of manuscript in the other. I feel that the art of revising novels while standing up in moving subway cars is...
WORD: What would you characterize as an ideal... →
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader? I spot them on the subway. Even before I notice they’re immersed in The Magicians, I’m drawn to their raw intelligence and attractiveness. The book looks well-thumbed—this isn’t their first time at the rodeo. Our eyes meet:…