Let's play a game. I'm going to name five things and you tell me what they are - "An Unnecessary Woman," "All the Light We Cannot See," "Redeployment," "Station Eleven," "Lila." They are the five fiction finalists for this year's National Book Award which will be given out this week. Don't feel bad if you didn't get the answer - I wouldn't have either. My connection to the nominees begins and ends with having picked up one of the five books from a table at - of all places - Whole Foods. It was, "All the Light We Cannot See," and I remember thinking it looked like something I might enjoy reading if I weren't so busy, which sums up my relationship with literary fiction in general these days.
Lisa Lucas is the publisher of the literary online magazine Guernica, and this week's Scramble Superguest. Lisa knows the works of many of these great writers - Guernica published interviews from two of the short-listed. Are we, as a culture, losing touch with good literature? We'll explore that question today, talk about some of the nominated works, and contemplate the future of digital publishing.
Speaking of culture, Director Christopher Nolan's science fiction blockbuster, Interstellar, is in movie theaters. This heavily-hyped, long-awaited science fiction blockbuster casts Matthew McConaughey as an explorer who travels beyond this galaxy to discover whether we have a shot at surviving beyond our dying planet. Spectacular visuals, mind-bending physics, and a love story keep you on the edge of your seat. But, not everyone loved it, including Yale physicist Douglas Stone.
Last, Emily Gould has a problem with writers, especially privileged white guys, who don't believe that truth is the "fundamental part of the deal" they make with their readers. Not only do they hurt their own reputation and that of those who "unwittingly" support them when they lie and plagiarize, they damage the credibility of those writers who honor the trust of their readers. Yet, for all the damage they do, they rarely pay a price. Instead, a well-timed apology, a promise to repent, and a dose of charisma erase the sins of their past. We'll talk about that.
- Lisa Lucas is the publisher of Guernica Magazine
- Douglas Stone is Chair of the Applied Physics Department and author of “Einstein and the Quantum,” an NPR top science book of 2013
- Emily Gould is the co-owner, with Ruth Curry, of the indie e-bookstore Emily Books. She’s the author of a collection of essays, "And the Heart Says Whatever," a more recently, a novel called “Friendship”
- “The Book I Read” by Talking Heads
- “I Saw It In A Movie” by Roger Hughes
- “I Can’t Forgive You” by Rebecca Pidgeon