Weekend Reading

By Patrick Appel

The Atlantic's once yearly news-stand only fiction issue is out. If, like me, you find digital short stories wanting, you can pick up a dead-tree version on the magazine stand. Aryn Kyle's story, Nine, is a standout piece as is Ann Patchett's essay on book tours. A snippet from Patchett:

I can never get very far from the niggling belief that something about book tour is inherently wrongheaded, that the basic premise of authors selling their books is a flawed one. Most people who are capable of sitting alone day after day, year after year, typing into the void are probably constitutionally ill-suited to work a room like a politician (though I am not, in fact, afraid of public speaking, and I’m good at it). We’re a country obsessed with celebrity, and trying to make authors into small-scale Lindsay Lohans does nothing but encourage what is already a bad cultural habit. Reading, no matter what book clubs tell us, is a private act, private even from the person who wrote the book. Once the novel is out there, the author is beside the point. The reader and the book have their own relationship now, and should be left alone to work things out for themselves.