The heady moment of the week, when social and academic intensity came together, was in John Barth’s weekly writing seminar, in each of which two student stories were discussed. “I’d give that another turn of the dramaturgical screw,” Barth would say, in his courtly way—this cleverest of writers, whom I’d been startled to see in living color after his black-and-white book jackets, on which he appeared in heavy glasses and what looked like a lab coat.
Kelly Link’s decision to give away free eBooks of her acclaimed story collection Magic for Beginners represents an innovative approach to digital publishing as a complement to book culture. Small Beer Press clarifies the intentions:
We love books. We want to keep on publishing good books. Weird books. Interesting books. We are curious about the future. If everyone downloads books straight to the Kindlenub in their head, we might be in trouble. But if there are still people who like to read books on paper, maybe some of them will read some of these downloads and then decide they would like the actual books.
Reading a story as powerful as Link’s “Stone Animals” for free should incline readers to buy the book. After 60,000 downloads (nearly 12,000 of the PDF version, which imports nicely from email directly into the iBooks PDF Bookshelf), Magic for Beginners has entered its sixth printing.[read more]
Laura Sims investigates David Markson’s conception of the novel:
In Markson’s Reader’s Block (Dalkey Archive, 1996), the narrator asks early on:
What is a novel in any case? (13)
To which he adds, musing on the work he anticipates writing, which bears a striking resemblance to Reader’s Block itself:
Nonlinear? Discontinuous? Collage-like?
An assemblage? (14)