Trailing Philip Roth by a few months and Toni Morrison by two years, Cormac McCarthy (who turns 81 this weekend) is one of America’s greatest and most decorated writers. His cultural stock has risen immeasurably in the last decade — whether it’s the Coen brothers adapting No Country for Old Men and winning Best Picture at the Oscars for it, or his recent (disappointing) original screenplay for the Ridley Scott-directed film The Counselor, McCarthy has made the transition from great novelist to phenomenon. He’s continuously successful, but he’s never changed, and doesn’t show any signs of letting his advanced age soften him. His entire body of work includes screenplays, plays, and short fiction — but it’s his novels that remain his greatest achievement, so to celebrate his birthday, we rank the five McCarthy novels you must read (and if it helps, the order in which you should do it.)
This was perhaps the biggest literary news of the past week:
The Man Booker prize longlist was revealed today with American authors in the running for one of literature’s top honours for the first time.
Organisers of the UK’s best-known fiction award – worth £50,000 to the winner – announced last year they were opening up the 46-year-old prize to writers of any nationality writing in English.
The American writers on the list include David Mitchell, David Nicholls, and Howard Jacobson.
Michele Filgate tells us, “some of the most interesting and useful hashtags on Twitter are designed to build community in the far-flung literary world.”
To join the community, take a look at these seven hashtags she explains.
- The Zhivago Affair: the Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée
- The Most Dangerous Book: the Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham
- The Rushdie Fatwa and After: a Lesson to the Circumspect by Brian Winston
Chances are that, if you’re reading this blog, you probably already know some of the tricks listed here.
However, I bet you’ll find something new in these suggestions by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. If nothing else, you’ll get permission to stop reading a book that doesn’t grab you instead of soldiering through to the bitter end.
Cable network FXX will run a non-stop marathon of all 552 episodes of The Simpsons from August 21 through September 1.
If you need a literary reason to justify watching or recording, here it is:
To mark the ultimate Simpsons marathon, we’re highlighting our favourite hilarious literary references that made their way onto the show in past years.