paper trail

Hanya Yanagihara’s forthcoming novel

Hanya Yanagihara. Photo: Wirasathya Darmaja

“It’s not unusual to be embarrassed by your first book,” writes Lamorna Ash at the Times Literary Supplement. “In Keats’s preface to Endymion (1818), published when he was only twenty-two, he suggested it was ‘not without a feeling of regret that I make it public.’ . . . Zadie Smith felt White Teeth (2000) ‘was about a hundred pages too long and suffered from a calamitous ending,’ while Peter Benchley’s assessment of Jaws (1974), which he had started writing at twenty-seven and which would go on to make him millions, was that its primary claim—that rogue sharks could get a taste for human flesh—was false and harmful to sharks’ public image.”

Director Brendan J. Byrne writes about his experiences while making Colm Tóibín: On Memory's Shore, which premieres today.

Geoff Dyer talks with The Guardian about underrated books (Denis Johnson’s The Name of the World), books he rereads (Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark), overrated books (Saul Bellow’s Adventures of Augie March), and the book he likes to give people (Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove—“like the gift of reading itself”).

Historian Vartan Gregorian, who in the 1980s “restore[d] a fading New York Public Library to its place at the heart of American intellectual life,” has died. “The New York Public Library is a New York and national treasure,” he said in his first meeting with the board. “The branch libraries have made lives and saved lives. The New York Public Library is not a luxury. It is an integral part of New York’s social fabric, its culture, its institutions, its media and its scholarly, artistic and ethnic communities. It deserves the city’s respect, appreciation and support. No, the library is not a cost center! It is an investment in the city’s past and future!”

Gary Shteyngart has written a novel, Our Country Friends, set during the COVID pandemic. And Margaret Atwood has written a collaborative, Decameron-inflected story about the pandemic with Dave Eggers and Celeste Ng.

Doubleday has bought A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara’s third book, To Paradise. The novel, which will be released in January 2022, is, according to the publisher, set in an alternate-history (and future) America in the years 1893, 1993, and 2093, and showcases Yanagihara’s “understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love—partners, lovers, children, friends, family, and even our fellow citizens—and the pain that ensues when we cannot.”

Mark your calendar: tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7:30 PM EST, Valeria Luiselli, Ben Lerner, Ayad Akhtar, Dinaw Mengestu, & Elaine Blair will discuss “fiction in a time of crisis.” You can register here.