While researching Henry Roth, author of Call It Sleep, I found his obituary as it appeared in The New York Times on October 15, 1995.
One of the more curious aspects of Roth’s career, as described in the obituary, was his absence from the literary world for nearly 40 years. He wrote Call It Sleep in 1934, when he was 28 years old. The book was well-received but only sold 4,000 copies and it soon went out of print.
Roth wrote 75 pages of another novel, but eventually succumbed to “writer’s block” and never finished it. He wouldn’t write another novel until the 1970s. As The New York Times puts it:
I want to try something new today to kick off December.
Awhile back, I wrote a post in which you guys could ask me a bunch of questions about books, writing, blogging, my process, etc, and I answered your questions in the comments. The post, surprisingly, did well.
Me being the guy always looking for fresh content, I decided I could make that into a series of posts.
So, today, I’m introducing the 101 Books Mailbag.
Last Thanksgiving, I told you about some literary-related things I’m thankful for. Tomorrow, Thanksgiving returns here in the United States, so let’s do it again!
In the world of book geekdom, literary nerdiness, and blogging in 2013, what am I thankful for? Or, for you grammarians who abide by outdated grammar rules—for what am I thankful?
At the time of this writing, I’ve read the prologue to Call It Sleep by Henry Roth. The prologue is about 10 pages, and it almost made me cry.
Of course, had I cried I would have cried manly, Chuck Norris tears, but that’s neither here nor there.
So to say that Call It Sleep starts strong is an understatement. The book details a family of Jewish immigrants and their experiences in New York city in the early 1900s. In just the prologue, Roth conveys the sense of isolation and “foreignness” that these immigrants must have felt in “The Golden Land” of New York.
Anyway, here are some facts about Call It Sleep and its author, Henry Roth:
You’ve gone and done it, Philip K. Dick.
You’ve gone and made me write a review in which I can’t ramble about how much I dislike science fiction.
You see, I hated Neuromancer. Snow Crash had its moments but left me feeling like I was reading a the script for a cheesy 1980s Schwarzanegger movie.
But Ubik? Not that bad.
I enjoyed Ubik because of two reasons.
Let’s get right to it today. You know the drill.
These are unedited, uncensored search terms that find their way to my blog, paired with my observation on each. For all prior editions of Your Search Questions Answered, go here.
Philip K. Dick might have believed he was Elijah, and he might have believed he was the disciple Thomas, and he might have believed he could communicate with a pink beam of light—yes, he was a little “out there”—but there’s no disputing that the man was the Energizer Bunny of science fiction writing.
When he died at age 53 in 1982, Dick had written 44 published novels and 121 short stories. What might be even more impressive than that was the amount of Dick’s novels that were turned into feature films. Of course, he didn’t write the screenplays, but his novels were the basis of many productions in Hollywood.
Here’s the list of movies based on Dick novels, from Wikipedia: