paper trail

Pedro Almodóvar working on A Manual for Cleaning Women film; Jenn Shapland on love and objects

Jenn Shapland. Photo: Christian Michael Fildardo

At the New York Times, MJ Franklin talks to Brandon Taylor about short stories, choosing between science and writing, and his new book, Real Life. Before attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Taylor was a Ph.D. student in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. “I have this very technical approach to almost everything,” he said. “If there is a problem, I first determine the parameters of the problem, and then I try to lay out a very systematic way of doing it.”

Doubleday has bought a debut novel by literary agent Rachel Yoder. Nightbitch tells the story of “a former artist, now stay-at-home-mom,” who “becomes convinced she’s turning into a dog.”

“Falling in love in the age of mechanical reproduction means falling in love with stuff,” writes My Autobiography of Carson McCullers author Jenn Shapland. “Sure, you fall for a person’s unique qualities, ideas, mannerisms, passions, butt. But you also fall in love with their sweaters, their record collection, their top movies, their sneakers. You fall in love with their favorite books—or you don’t.”

Director Pedro Almodóvar is adapting Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women for the big screen.“She’s not that different from Alice Munro. She was an alcoholic and married to a junkie. A very complicated woman,” he said of the author. “Of course I feel less confident with this story, but I don’t feel very scared. . . . This is a real whim for me.”

At Literary Hub, John Freeman talks to Vivian Gornick about New York, writing, and her new book, Unfinished Business.

The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan explains why journalists should stop trying to make political predictions. “Rather than focus on what’s most important to the public interest, political coverage focuses far too heavily on who’s up and who’s down — an elusive metric that requires data such as polls and fundraising numbers,” she writes.

“Amazon is quietly canceling its Nazis,” the New York Times’s David Streitfeld reports. The company has been slowly removing books by white supremacists like David Duke and George Lincoln Rockwell, among other hate speech. “While few may lament the disappearance of these hate-filled books, the increasing number of banished titles has set off concern among some of the third-party booksellers who stock Amazon’s vast virtual shelves,” since the company refuses to clearly state what is or isn’t prohibited, Streitfeld explains.