paper trail

Jabari Asim on a new collection of Zora Neale Hurston stories; Anna Wiener at the Strand

Anna Wiener. Photo: Russell Perkins

The New York Times has an excerpt and a review of Zora Neale Hurston’s Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance, a new collection that includes eight stories “recovered” from obscure periodicals and archives. Jabari Asim writes in his review: “Just as Ralph Ellison sought to wring the marvelous from the terrible, Hurston boldly found humor in the midst of tragedy and disruption.”

The Atlantic has announced a new fiction section. As executive editor Adrianne LaFrance notes in her introduction to the project, “Contemplative reading might be viewed as a minor act of rebellion in the internet age.”

At Literary Hub, a look at the most anticipated books of 2020. New titles from Hilary Mantel, Ottessa Moshfegh, David Mitchell, Elena Ferrante, Emma Cline—and many more—make 2020 a strong year for fiction.

The Paris Review has moved their 2013 “Art of Fiction” interview with Deborah Eisenberg from behind the paywall. Here’s the endlessly quotable Eisenberg on the relationship between art-making and therapy: “If you think you’re going to be late for a movie and you walk briskly to the theater, it might be good for you, but that’s not why you’re walking briskly. Writing does change you, and of course it feels good to do things, so you could say writing is de facto therapeutic. But really, one writes to write. Of course, there are ancillary advantages to writing fiction. You get to leave your body, for instance.”

Tonight at the Strand bookstore in Manhattan, Anna Wiener discusses her new memoir of working for Silicon Valley start-ups, Uncanny Valley. In her New York Times review of the book, Lauren Oyler argues that Wiener’s volume was written for readers who live outside the tech bubble: “Former liberal arts majors who halfheartedly resist the app-enabled future—mainly through willful ignorance and sweeping complaints—are the intended audience for this book. Wiener was, and maybe still is, one of us; far from seeking to disabuse civic-minded techno-skeptics of our views, she is here to fill out our worst-case scenarios with shrewd insight and literary detail.” (Stay tuned for Bookforum’s Feb/Mar issue to get our take.)