Graywolf Press has announced that it will publish Maggie Nelson’s next book, The Argonauts, which is “a hybrid personal account and theoretical exploration of language and art, “good enough” mothering, queer identity, love, sex, and family.” Hybrid is a good word for Nelson: A poet, memoirist, and cultural critic, she is best known for her rangy study The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning and Bluets, a poetic and personal meditation on the color blue. (You can read her Bookforum Syllabus on Books about Color here.) The Argonauts was acquired by editor Ethan Nosowsky, who has recently edited writers such as Geoff Dyer and (at McSweeney’s) Hilton Als.
Recently, Kari Wagner-Peck, who authors the blog A Typical Son, took Chuck Klosterman, who writes the Ethicist column for the New York Times Magazine, to task for having used the word retard in his early work. Klosterman has written a thoughtful response, and says: “I’m very sorry.” He has offered to donate $25,000 to a charity of Wagner-Peck’s choice.
New York magazine tells the strange tale of Dorothy Parker’s “Lolita.” A few weeks before Nabokov’s novel was released in Paris, Parker published a story of the same name in the New Yorker. It’s possible that the seed for the story had been planted by some of Parker’s friends: A manuscript of Nabokov’s book had been making the rounds, crossing the desk of New Yorker editors and great literary gossips like Edmund Wilson. Soon after, Parker raved about Nabokov’s masterpiece in Esquire, calling it “a work of art” and “a great book.”
The “best of” season has begun, and over at The Guardian, Hilary Mantel (Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee), Richard Ford (All That Is by James Salter), Jonathan Franzen (Command and Control by Eric Schossler), and Moshin Hamid (Tenth of December by George Saunders) have named their favorite books of 2013.
At the New Republic, Ben Crair traces the recent evolution of the period, from a neutral punctuation mark to a signifier of aggression.
The owners of the St. Marks Bookshop, which has long struggled to keep up with the rent at its location at Third Avenue and 9th Street, is hoping to move to a new, smaller location. To prepare for the move, the bookstore will host a fundraiser on December 5, both in the store and at the website. Items up for auction included signed first editions by Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, and Paul Auster.