Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. And since our audience (and we) love books in particular, we thought we would share a weekly roundup of some our favorite bookish writing from around the web. This week: lots of smart articles about Robert Zimmerman’s literary prize, and more.
Joining fellow Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing in the indifferent cranky genius department, Bob Dylan gives zero fucks about winning literature’s most prestigious prize, of course. So he’s leaving us mortal peons on Twitter and on our “blogs” and “newspapers” to rage back and forth about whether he deserved the prize, whether he’s a poet, etc. As Dylan himself might describe it: “People talk of situations/Read books, repeat quotations/Draw conclusions on the wall.” I wonder if he anticipated Facebook walls. Here are some conclusions people are drawing; allow me to repeat their quotations.
David Remnick is basically my spiritual sibling in one arena and that is our shared deep appreciation for dad rock. So of course he had something to say:
Somewhere along the way, if you’re very young and lucky, something, or someone, maybe an artist, points you in some direction, gives you a hint of where things are to be found and seen and listened to. Dylan’s records led me to so many other things of value: the Modernists and the Beats, the early music he incorporated into his own, a general sense of freedom and possibility. It has been that way for millions of others, and that’s part of what the Nobel honors.
The Guardian interviewed novelists and songwriters alike about Dylan and got wonderful responses. Salman Rushdie responded that, “the frontiers of literature keep widening, and it’s exciting that the Nobel prize recognises that,” while Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagan added, “the award to Bob Dylan is a great boon to lovers of fair-minded compassion, fellowship, and common decency, which step forward at the perfect moment to do battle with the egotistical, bigoted, greedy, misogynistic spitefulness of Trump’s America.”
At Atticus Review, David Olimpio threw down a challenge to his fellow novelists: “I say this as somebody who just had his first book published this year and who still loves books even as I recognize their shrinking relevance to people’s lives: The Nobel Prize does not owe anything to book sales or the book industry. The book industry owes it to itself to figure out the problem of diminished readership and its own existential relevance.” He’s responding to Anna North at the New York Times, who writes that “As reading declines around the world, literary prizes are more important than ever. A big prize means a jump in sales and readership even for a well-known writer. But more than that, awarding the Nobel to a novelist or a poet is a way of affirming that fiction and poetry still matter, that they are crucial human endeavors worthy of international recognition.”
In non-Dylan news, Publishers Weekly looks at “issue-driven” YA that includes slut-shaming, sexual assault, disabilities, mental illness, bullying, and more.
And at The Huffington Post, Claire Fallon interviews Shirley Jackson’s grandson, Miles Hyman, who has adapted his grandmother’s terrifying short story “The Lottery” into a graphic novel. “I couldn’t help but be struck by how pertinent this short story continues to be today, nearly 70 years after its original publication,” he says. “Never in my lifetime have we seen a political environment so laced with those old toxic emotions: fear and hatred. Seen through the eyes of my grandmother’s classic tale, some of what has been said during this election cycle has, if anything, taken Old Mr. Warner’s irate rants to a whole new level of shrill demagoguery.”
Finally, T Magazine explores Sarah Jessica Parker and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new endeavors: a literary imprint for Parker, and Coates’ work on Marvel Black Panther comics.