Jonathan Lethem on Kafka, Saving Book Stacks in University Libraries, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Written years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in 1871, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla could be considered modern Europe’s original vampire novel. (Atlas Obscura)

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ann E. Michael makes a case for why physical books should remain in university libraries despite changing technologies.

Funny or frightening? In an effort to make its virtual assistants wittier and more humanlike, Google is recruiting comedy writers to teach its artificial intelligence how to tell jokes. (Smithsonian)

“That’s true of a number of Kafka’s aphorisms—they seem somehow emblematic of consciousness itself, and they just carve themselves into the human source code.” Fiction writer Jonathan Lethem discusses the influence of Franz Kafka’s The Castle on his work. (Atlantic)

Following Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win last week, Simon & Schuster has pushed up the release date for a book of Dylan’s lyrics, Lyrics, 1961-2012, from November 8 to November 1. (GalleyCat)

If Kurt Vonnegut were alive, he would probably not purchase that Dylan book. In a recently unearthed interview from 1991, Vonnegut called Bob Dylan the “worst poet alive.” (Page Six)

Paramount has acquired film rights to award-winning author Jeff VanderMeer’s next novel, Borne. Scott Rudin and Eli Bush, who are producing the adaptation of VanderMeer’s Annihilation, will also produce Borne. (Variety)