What a Great Time to be Literate – Fall/Winter Book Preview

A couple weeks ago The Millions released their “Most Anticipated” book preview for the second half of 2011, and there are some really great books on the list. Some of these forthcoming releases are pretty exciting. You should check out their article for the full thrust of the season, but, nonetheless, here are the ones that have me on tenterhooks.

Don DeLillo will publish his first collection of short stories in November with The Angel Esmerelda: Nine Stories. The stories included were written between 1979 and 2011, so it’s a pretty big range to draw from–and is clearly a collected stories kind of thing with a different label. It is a new book from DeLillo, however, so I’m eager to read it.

Dan Chaon, probably my favorite contemporary writer of short fiction, comes out with a new collection early in 2012 called Stay Awake. I liked his novels okay, but, for me, Chaon’s short story collections are where it’s at.

Colson Whitehead wrote a post-9/11 zombie novel–Zone One–that comes out in September. It looks pretty interesting. Whitehead’s The Intuitionist is one of my favorite novels, and one I highly recommend checking out if you haven’t yet read it.

Denis Johnson‘s Train Dreams comes out in August. It’s a novella that was originally featured in the 2003 O. Henry Prize Stories anthology.

Roberto Bolano has yet another posthumous release with The Third Reich. The title refers to a war game some Germans get caught up in while vacationing in Spain.

Lauren Groff comes out with Arcadia in 2012, a novel about a utopian sect in rural New York that falls apart.

Yannick Murphy‘s The Call. I’ll be reading this over the weekend. A novel written as diary entries about a family’s difficult year after a son goes into a coma following a hunting accident.

DBC Pierre‘s Lights Out in Wonderland is also an August release. An international, satiric romp that takes its aim on the largesse and iniquities of late capitalism.

Also, Dave Madden‘s The Authentic Animal is out soon–a nonfiction book about the world of taxidermy–and you can win a copy via HTML Giant’s current caption contest.

The Kenyon Review Online resources (and others)

I’ve been enjoying the Kenyon Review blog this summer–specifically their series of Micro-Interviews and the audio archives from their 2011 Writers Workshop program. It’s pretty cool to watch how these things take shape. The most famous archive of writer interviews is, of course, the Paris Review‘s, which is like a master’s program in literature and writing by itself.

It’s interesting how the rise of MFA writing programs in the last decade happened at the same time that so many new resources (or not so new, just newly electronic) for writers have popped up online. Of course, it isn’t like a writer has ever had to go to grad school in order to meet other writers, or read great books, or write every day, or find great advice and resources, etc. Grad school programs provide an organization of these activities, for a price; and in a somewhat similar way, great literary blogs and archives provide a similarly useful naming and sorting of resources for those who join their community.

Anyway–here are some links of things I’ve enjoyed these past few months:

Kenyon Review Blog

TKR Micro Interview with Ron Carlson

Audio of readings and seminars from the 2011 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop

TKR Micro Interview with Seth Fried

The Paris Review Interviews

The Paris Review Daily– their blog

HTML Giant – the new official home to heated literary debate and hipster declarations

The Outlet – the blog of Electric Literature and NYC literary social scene

Key West Literary Seminar Audio Archives