Ten Best Debut Novels of 2013, Rick Riordan on Getting Published, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

Jason Diamond picks his ten favorite debut novels of 2013, including Nelly Reifler’s Elect H. Mouse State Judge and You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt. (Flavorwire)

Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selects Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings as its latest pick. The first print run of the novel, according to publisher Viking, will be three hundred and twenty thousand copies. (ABC News)

Nicholas Lund details how birds will attack future Amazon drones. (Slate)

On his blog, best-selling author Rick Riordan shares his thoughts on getting published: “The agent who eventually accepted me as a client had never heard of the novelist who recommended me. She just liked the premise of my book.”

Meanwhile, Boris Kachka profiles National Book Award-nominated novelist Rachel Kushner, and speaks with Kushner’s former workshop instructor Jonathan Franzen (who recommended his gifted student to his agent). (New York

“But here’s what is important: I sabotaged my own book.” Author David L. Ulin reveals the personal history behind his early writing. (Paris Review Daily)

Alexis C. Madrigal reports that Thomas Pynchon could have actually met a spy online. (Atlantic)

“At what point in this book did you stop reading? Why? Was it the overwrought language, or the underdeveloped plot?” Rebecca Mead and George Prochnik deliver a book club guide for an unloved tome. (New Yorker)