This week we welcome Brian back from his trip to Ireland. After he fills us in on all the pubs and literary adventures (as well as a few Irish writers we should be reading), we hear progress updates from Ben and Jon. Then it’s on to Annie Proulx’s “Tits-up in a Ditch.”
- Annie Proulx’s “Tits-up in the Ditch,” online over at the New Yorker while the New Yorker archives are still available. It’s also in her third collection of Wyoming stories, Fine Just the Way It Is.
- If you’re ever in Dublin, check out the literary pub crawl. You’ll learn about Joyce and some other Irish writers (including a stop at the bar where Brendan Behan drank himself to death).
- For you youngsters out there, this is the Nintendo Power Glove.
- Brian picked up Kevin Barry’s Dark Lies the Island, Michael J. Farrell’s Life in the Universe and Maeve Brennan’s The Springs of Affection.
- And where did he pick those up? The Dingle Bookshop, The Gutter Bookshop, The Kenmare Bookshop, The Kinsale Bookshop, and The Winding Stair, among others.
- Shout out to Laura Donnelly! Congratulations on her first full-length book of poetry, Watershed, which is now available from Cider Press Review.
- Here’s a write-up of Laura’s book launch, held at Oswego’s independent bookshop, River’s End.
- Ben is enjoying Sarah Yaw’s You Are Free to Go, published by Engine Books.
Writers are a tough audience. As Jon says, “All I want is a book that’s perfect.” We want to read entertaining fiction written with passion, inspiration, intensity, and heart, in fresh sentences and about compelling characters. We wouldn’t mind writing one of those books, too… just as soon as the muse gets around to inspiring us. In the meantime, the guys discuss how Don DeLillo’s “Midnight in Dostoevsky” measures up against that standard.
- We’re going to milk the New Yorker archives just as long as they’re free. You’ll find Don DeLillo’s “Midnight in Dostoevsky” there.
- As summer wanes, the WITTScasters’ writing is going slowly. Jon is busy hustling The Whiskey Baron, Brian is selling one house, buying another, and taking a trip to Ireland, and Ben’s just slacking.
- But there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with goofing off as a writer, if you ask Richard Ford.
- Maybe before Brian and his bride-to-be skip off to the emerald isle, he can find time to submit an entry to the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.
- It didn’t meet Jon’s definition of “perfect,” but Still Life, the first book in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, wasn’t bad.
- The most satisfying book Jon has read recently is Jonathan Franzen’s The Twenty-Seventh City — imaginative, with ordinary-yet-compelling characters and tension built right into the syntax!
- If you’re looking to get started with DeLillo, why not start with Underworld, and if you’re gonna read Underworld, you’ll have to start with the amazing prologue, which was also published independently as the novella Pafko at the Wall. That might be as good as ol’ Don gets.
- As any middle-aged NBA fan will tell you, Ilgauskas is from Lithuania.
Remember the year 2000? It was more than just the start of the Willenium. It’s the year that James Wood’s now-canonical essay on “hysterical realism” was published. So dust off your AOL CDs and join the WITTScasters for a discussion of what gives characters life on the page and why an intricately connected plot might hurt your novel. Plus, Jon gets religion.
- As of today, you can read James Wood’s essay “Human, All Too Inhuman” for free at the New Republic. Tomorrow? No guarantees.
- Wood’s essay started out as a review of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, along with a snapshot of other “hysterical realists” at the time, including David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, Salman Rushdie, and future WITTScast author Don DeLillo.
- Though not one to be above the fray, Wood can be equally critical of his own novels like The Book Against God.
- Laura Donnelly’s first poetry collection Watershed is available for pre-order at Cider Press Review! Early reviews are in, and they’re glowing.
- Brian may have cheated his home inspector out of a good story, but that business does not lack for juicy content.
- Syd Field has an opinion or two about how to write a screenplay.
- Ben’s been 80 pages into James Salter’s Light Years for light years.
- Jon not only read Henry James’ novel The Princess Casamassima, but he can pronounce the title, too.
- A convincing impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility.
- There’s no sign of James Wood on Twitter, though there’s arguably way too much of James Woods.
- Boyd Crowder is good, but he’s no Jon Sealy.
- Special end-credit shout-out to the Bible Way Apostolic Church Band!