1976 -- JR

I feel like part of the vanishing breed that thinks a writer should be read and not heard, let alone seen. I think this is because there seems so often today to be a tendency to put the person in the place of his or her work, to turn the creative artist into a performing one, to find what a writer says about writing somehow more valid, or more real, than the writing itself.
Although his reclusive behavior did not quite reach the Pynchon level, William Gaddis gave few interviews and left so little personal material behind that, twelve years after his death, no full-length biography has appeared. The comments above, from Gaddis’s 1976 NBA acceptance speech, add an unfortunate level of irony to the missing author portrait, for his novels have all but disappeared along with him. Although too long, difficult and postmodern to ever be a popular success, they have enjoyed significant critical praise — more recently from Jonathan Franzen, his essay titled, “Mr. Difficult: William Gaddis and the Problem of Hard-to-Read Books.” But a quarter-century has passed since Cynthia Ozick judged Gaddis’s The Recognitions “the most overlooked important work of the last several literary generations,” and he remains, in her words, “famous for not being famous enough.”

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.