Any reader raised in the South over the last 40 years or so probably has fond memories of the work of Kathryn Tucker Windham, that indefatigable journalist-turned-ghost-story teller. Until her death this June, Windham chronicled the South’s history through its legends in memorable books like 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey and Terrible American Legends. Since I’m among the children who had Alabama Ghosts as required reading in middle school, I was happy to see Windham’s legacy discussed on the Paris Review blog.
In Windham’s tales, the romanticism of the South collides with the reality of its racial politics, myth and fact intertwine to present a picture of the South that is as true as any textbook.
If you haven’t heard about Spotify, the Swedish streaming music site that hit U.S. shores this summer—you’ve probably spent the summer with your nose in a book and your iPod gathering dust in a drawer! In a nutshell, this free service lets you stream just about any song ever recorded. What does this have to do with books? Well, one of Spotify’s features allows you to share or subscribe to playlists, and several tech-savvy readers are compiling playlists inspired by books. So if you’re reading Ten Thousand Saints and are wondering what the punk bands referenced sound like, wonder no more (via). Other playlists of note include the exhaustive listing of everything referred to in Patti Smith’s Just Kids (including readings of Baudelaire!) and a publishing playlist full of bookish tunes (did you know that Prince wrote a song about Dorothy Parker?!?). Spotify is currently invite-only but you can request one here.
The LA Times blog shared some wisdom for aspiring writers, plucked from Ann Patchett‘s “The Getaway Car,” which was published by Byliner as a Kindle single on Monday and is available for $2.99 from Amazon. The advice includes:
A deep, early love of poetry should be mandatory for all writers.
No one should ever go into debt to study creative writing.
As far as I’m concerned, writer’s block is a myth.
Does it seem like a lot of so-called serious literary writers are suddenly publishing commercial smash hits? (See: Justin Cronin and The Passage.) You’re not the only one who has noticed. Today in The Millions, Kim Wright writes about how “The good ship Literary Fiction has run aground and the survivors are frantically paddling toward the islands of genre.” (She continues: “Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but there does seem to be a definite trend of literary/mainstream writers turning to romance, thrillers, fantasy, mystery, and YA.”) Wright’s debut novel, Love in Mid Air, was published a year and a half ago, and now she is at work on a more commercial novel about Jack the Ripper. Why do you think a literary author might be inclined to write commercial? (Grocery bills? Cay payments??) In your mind, does genre = somehow not as good?
Read any good literary links this week? Share in the comments!