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Top Book Blogs 07/2013

[Bookslut] But What Would the Donkey Think?: On Rebellion by Joseph Roth
When a critic praises a novel for its empathy I have to confess to a little pang of suspicion. That line from William James swims back to me: "The weeping of the Russian lady over the fictitious personages in the...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Patricia Vigderman
Patricia Vigderman's essay collection Possibility: Essays Against Despair follows her engaging 2007 book The Memory Palace of Isabella Stewart Gardner, a literary stroll through the Boston art museum Stewart founded that's at once skeptical and intimate. Her perambulations in both...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Lynne Barrett
In a review for The Rumpus, novelist Joseph Olsham once described writer Lynne Barrett as brimming with "original ideas, questions and philosophical musings," and her writing as possessing "a probing intelligence and a highly literate sensibility." Kelly Cherry says...

[The Millions] Frank O’Hara’s Lessons for Being Gay
At summer arts camp, nestled into our scrappy bunk beds, the tainted scent of bug spray and boy’s locker room riding the night air, the newly-out gay boys slyly passed A Boy’s Own Story and The Picture of Dorian Gray as though they were fetish porn to be viewed strictly under covers with a

[Guardian Books Blog] Poem of the week: The Man by Maitreyabandhu
A quiet portrait of isolated life uses coolly observed, ordinary details to build an unexpectedly suspenseful narrativeThis week's poem "The Man" is by the Buddhist writer Maitreyabandhu, whose first full-length collection, The Crumb Road, has just been published by Bloodaxe and is a Poetry Book

[Guardian Books Blog] Readers take control in a new age of print
The broadening scope of literature in a digital world is encouraging readers to make their voices heard in deciding prizesIt's not just the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury. All over Britain, the festival – indeed the cultural – scene is changing. Last weekend I drove westwards to attend the Chalke

[Guardian Books Blog] Guardian First book award 2013: help us find the 10th title
The publishers' submissions are all in, but there's still one slot to fill on the Guardian First book award longlist. Can you help us find this year's most brilliant literary debut?The publishers' nominations are all in for the Guardian First book award 2013, with our panel of judges already hard at

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Republican politics
Seriously, what's the matter with Kansas?

[The Millions] Lay Down Your Arms
Growing up, I was always taught that chickens lay eggs and people lie down. Since then, I’ve always been irritated by that verb’s misuse. But maybe it’s time to settle down and relax. Maybe, as Kathryn D. Blanchard argues, it’s time to stop “clinging to values that no longer serve their

[Bookslut] An Interview with Nadeem Aslam
From the opening few pages of reading a Nadeem Aslam novel, I knew his writing was something to treasure and behold. Serendipitously, I used my then-day job to bring the Pakistan-born, British-educated-and-domiciled Aslam over the Pond to be a...

[The Millions] Save the Languages
Researchers at Comanche Nation College and Texas Tech University are creating a digital archive to reconstruct the Comanche language before its 25 remaining speakers die out. Meanwhile, researchers from Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have recorded audio and video footage

[Bookslut] An Interview with Christopher Bram
Christopher Bram is that rarest of writers: he sits down at the desk, writes a book, finishes it, gets it published, and then does it again, with evidence of neither angst nor chest-thumping. Writing is simply what he does,...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Maggie Nelson
When most people visit Portland, it's a monochrome day. But when I picked up Maggie Nelson for her reading at the Little Church, no clouds grayed the sky. It was all blue. How fitting, being that Nelson's celebrated book,...

[Bookslut] An Interview with David McConnell
Sebastian Junger said of David McConnell's American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men, "Not only is this book the best sort of true-crime writing, but it is also a stunning exploration of the concept of manhood in America....

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: This way
Maybe bowling alone isn't so bad

[The Millions] “The real subject of his book is scale”
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to take Kathryn Schulz’s book recommendations. However when she refers to something – in this case J.M. Ledgard’s Submergence – as “the best novel I’ve read so far this year,” you really ought to listen up. By the time she invokes Philip

[The Millions] Delusion is Crucial: The Millions Interviews Philipp Meyer
Out this month, Philipp Meyer’s second novel, The Son, is equal parts generational epic and ruthlessly unsentimental creation myth. Tracing the ascendency of a Texas family begat by Eli McCullough, a man kidnapped in his boyhood and raised by his Comanche captors, the only constant in the lives of

[Salon Books] Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war
Closing arguments for the Department of Justice's antitrust suit against Apple concluded last week, although U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is not expected to reach a decision for another couple of months. If you've found the case difficult to follow, you're not alone. Still it's worth getting a

[The Millions] “I decided to stage an event: Robot Wars.”
Recommended Reading: Got a ton of spare time and a nostalgic interest in killer, mechanized war machines? Cool. Me too. Here’s an oral history of Battlebots. Related posts: Transforming bus robot art Sometimes I think Mrs. Millions prefers to ignore my blogging... Belladonna* Prose Event File

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Africa's turn
The state of politics in Africa

[The Millions] Australian Literature: Starter Pack
Ever been curious about the literary scene down under? For the next week, you can grab seven Australian literary journals/collections as part of a pay-what-you-want eBook bundle courtesy of Tomely. The journals include Voiceworks, Kill Your Darlings, The Review of Australian Fiction, The Lifted

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Jul 2, 2013 @ 12:18:00 am
The merger of Penguin and Random House is officially complete; Professional audiobook reading is a booming business; Granta publisher Ingrid Rausing explains recent shake-ups at the magazine.

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Terror in the Skies
At one point in The Skies Belong to Us, Brendan Koerner's riveting second book, a troubled Vietnam veteran informs his girlfriend that they will be hijacking a plane to North Vietnam before settling in Australia. "There was only one way she could possibly respond to such a deliciously extreme

[Lit Saloon] Bookselling in ... Thailand
       In The Diplomat Lisnaree Vichitsorasatra reports that Indy Thai Literature Struggles to Find Its Voice.        Among the (disappointing) observations: Although there are many promising Thai writers who might write more

[Lit Saloon] July online issues
       Among the July issues of online periodicals now available are: The July issue of Words without Borders, featuring 'Iran's Postrevolution Generation' and with a section on 'Writing about Translation' Open Letters Monthly Bookslut (with, disappointingly, only

[Lit Saloon] All my Friends review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Marie NDiaye's All my Friends, now available in English from Two Lines Press.

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Choi, Aw, Zambrano, Roth, Banville
New this week: My Education by Susan Choi, Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw, Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano, The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth, and a new edition of a previously hard to come by early collection of stories by John Banville, Long Lankin. Stay tuned for our big second-half preview with

[The Millions] Punk, Revolutionary Nonfiction, and Sarah McCarry’s Guillotine Chapbook Series
1991 may be known as the year punk broke but 2013 may soon become the year of its canonization. The phrase “the year punk broke” was coined by filmmaker David Markey after watching Motley Crüe cover the Sex Pistols on television in a jetlag malaise with members of Sonic Youth, whose concert

[The Millions] The Millions Top Ten: June 2013
We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Aspects of the Arab Spring revolts
Were the demonstrations in Egypt the largest mass protest in human history?

[The Millions] You Should Move
“By three a.m., the seven of us had drunk a case of champagne, plus two additional bottles, followed by whiskey digestifs for the men. ‘They do this all the time,’ Pierre’s wife Chloe whispered to me in English at one point—dismissively, but without malice. As if to say, sure, Pierre’s

[The Millions] The Work of a Good Woman
As our own Nick Moran reported two weeks ago, Alice Munro has decided to retire from writing. Herewith, a timely profile of the author, courtesy of the Times. (You could also read Ben Dolnick on her last book of stories, Dear Life.) Related posts: How To Be A Woman (For Less) (American) Readers who

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The myriad benefits
Would smell as sweet

[The Millions] Tweet Tweet
On the tiny island of La Gomera, the residents had a problem communicating across the ravines. What did they do to resolve this, you ask? Simple: they invented a whistle language. (h/t The Rumpus) Related posts: I Tweet Therefore I am Twitter lets writers think in public, and it’s changing

[Guardian Books Blog] Tips, links and suggestions: What are you reading this week?
The space to talk about the books you are reading, and find out which ones we are reviewingHello good book people. All well I trust? Apologies that this blog is a day later than usual but I've been on holiday. I hope that gets me off the hook. Thanks to everyone who shared their holiday reading

[The Millions] ****!
Oh, shit: looks like many of our curse words are quickly going extinct. (There is good news, however, contained in this delightful sentence: “Still, according to Sheidlower, f-bomb enthusiasts need not fret too much.”) Related posts: Effing up The New Yorker Mary Norris on the cusswords

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Of feminism
Feminism is relevant, sexy, and fun to boot

[The Millions] Everything Is Fine, Part Deux
The second issue of Little Brother Magazine (edited by Millions emerita and Toronto resident Emily Keeler) features excellent fiction about scandal-plagued mayor Rob Ford. At The Atlantic Cities, Mark Byrne talks with Emily, who describes herself as “addicted” to the drama surrounding the

[Salon Books] Neil Gaiman to release “Sandman” prequel
Twenty-five years after he first released the critically acclaimed comic series, "Sandman," fantasy writer Neil Gaiman is following up with its prequel, "Sandman: Overture.""Sandman," which ran from 1989 to 1996, is one of the only graphic novels to be on the New York Times Best Seller list and won

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Anglo Attitudes
How British visitors apprehend America through a glass, darkly

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Jul 3, 2013 @ 12:20:00 am
Miranda July's email project "We Think Alone" offers insight into authors' personal emails; A federal appeals court rules that the class-action suit against Google Books shouldn't have class-action status; Los Angeles's Williams' Book Store is closing after 104 years in business;

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Snowden Case
Most Americans who know anything about the National Security Agency probably got their mental picture of it from a 1998 thriller called Enemy of the State. A lawyer (Will Smith), swept up by mistake into the system of total surveillance, suddenly finds his life turned upside down, his family watched

[Lit Saloon] Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of honour 2015: Indonesia
       They've announced (just in German so far, apparently) that the 'Guest of honour' at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair will be Indonesia. (It's Brazil this year, and Finland next.)        As I often mention (like ... yesterday),

[Lit Saloon] Entertainment Weekly's top 100 novels
       Yes, it's summer silly season, and 'best of'-lists continue to be hard to resist, so I'll even link to something as arbitrary as Entertainment Weekly's recently unveiled top 100 novel-list -- one of the laziest I've ever come across. A(n annoying) gallery of

[The Millions] The Last of the Comanches: Philip Meyer’s The Son
The idea that Europeans discovered a pristine wilderness when they arrived in the New World, sparsely populated by loose bands of natives who lived lightly on the land in relative harmony with one another, has been waning for more than a decade—and for good reason. In 2005, Charles C. Mann’s

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The most important and urgent goal for humankind
Immortality is not a waste of time

[Salon Books] Chris Kluwe’s “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies” is a weird, wild ride
Chris Kluwe, the punter for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, is as unlikely an essayist as he is a campaigner for free speech or gay rights. That’s part of his appeal as a public person. He complicates the stereotype, which forces anyone interested—fans, the press, readers—to deal with him as an

[Baby Got Books] Happy Birthday, Franz Kafka!
To celebrate Franz’s 130th, check out today’s Google Doodle:   And then, check this out:  

[The Millions] Sandman is Back
Neil Gaiman is famous for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the number one reason is Sandman, the graphic novel series that won the author nineteen Eisner  and six Harvey awards. Now, twenty-five years after publishing the first issue, Gaiman has written a prequel, named Overture. Related posts: Hey

[The Millions] Whither the Footy?
Apart from the fact that Anglo-Indian slang is an interesting topic in its own right, you should read this article simply to reward the writer for this lede: “Pyjamas did not exist until the 19th century.” Related posts: Debut Novel from n+1 Co-Editor Brings in Big Bucks Those who watch the


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