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Top Book Blogs 08/2013

[The Millions] We Can’t Go On, We’ll Go On: William Gass’s Middle C
The fear that the human race might not survive has been replaced by the fear that it will endure. Joseph Skizzen, the main character of William Gass’s masterful new novel, constantly reconsiders and rewrites the above sentence, sometimes with slight modifications; other times, the sentence

[Guardian Books Blog] May Sinclair: the readable modernist
While the 'Men of 1914' take all the attention, this approachable innovator has been outrageously neglectedThe "Men of 1914" – writers such as James Joyce, Ezra Pound, TS Eliot and DH Lawrence – are as much the poster boys of modernism today as they were when Wyndham Lewis coined the phrase in

[Guardian Books Blog] Happy birthday, Hannibal: The Silence of the Lambs turns 25
It's been a quarter of a century since Thomas Harris's cultured cannibal exploded on the thriller scene, winning fictional killers a place in our hearts for everCan it really be a whole quarter of a century since Hannibal Lecter took up residence in our cultural landscape with the immortal line, "I

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Funny how gender never came up
Why does everyone expect women to smile all the time?

[Guardian Books Blog] Summer voyages: La Modification (A Change of Heart) by Michel Butor
One man's train ride from Paris towards his mistress in Rome follows his thoughts on a fascinating journeyMichel Butor's La Modification, first published in French in 1957, describes a single train journey. It follows the middle-aged Leon Delmont from Paris – where he leaves behind his wife

[The Millions] Gary Shteyngart Becomes A Glasshole
Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story is now a reality. He got to try Google Glass and wrote about the experience for The New Yorker. “When the velvet-rope hostess at the of-the-moment Wythe Hotel bar in Williamsburg stops to take a photo of me with her iPhone, I know exactly what

[The Millions] Will the Real Borges Please Stand Up?
“The thing Borges was most skeptical about was the idea of a writer, a man, named Borges.” Our own Mark O’Connell writes about Borges for The New Yorker. Related posts: Borges’ Self-Portrait Maud Newton posts a self-portrait by Jorge Luis Borges: “When... Will the real

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Time to move
Call it aggregation

[The Millions] Stranger than Fiction
We’ve traced how Stoner became a bestseller in Europe, but I took a closer look at where the book started, The University of Missouri, for Vox Magazine. As it turns out, John Williams found inspiration in some real faculty rivalries. Related posts: An American Bestseller Abroad Ian McEwan

[Salon Books] Wall Street decimates black America
We cautiously ascend the staircase, the pitch black of the boarded-up house pierced only by my companion’s tiny circle of light. At the top of the landing, the flashlight beam dances in a corner as Quafin, who offered only her first name, points out the furnace. She is giddy; this house -- unlike

[The Millions] Ben Stiller’s Daydreams
Ben Stiller has taken on the fashion and film worlds before, but his next directorial effort is literary. The new trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, based off of the 1939 James Thurber short story, is more Michel Gondry than Derek Zoolander. Related posts: A Year in Reading: Ben Dooley

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Political economy in a changing world
The nearly foolproof recipe to make poor countries richer

[Salon Books] A son investigates the family secrets
Kevin Sampsell’s memoir-in-vignettes, “A Common Pornography,” began as a sixty page “memory experiment,” published in a sixty-page limited edition in 2003. That might have been the book’s final version if Sampsell hadn’t driven to Kennewick, Washington, five years later, to attend his

[The Millions] Whose Line Is It Anyway?
“It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” Stephen King talked to The Atlantic about what makes a good first line and picked a few of the best. Also read the favorite opening lines of Jonathan Franzen, Roxane Gay and others. Related posts: Wounded “Maybe

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Aug 2, 2013 @ 12:31:00 am
England's Minister of Culture has barred singer Kelly Clarkson from leaving the country with a ring that once belonged to Jane Austen; Fan-fiction writers are now able to license and sell works based on Kurt Vonnegut's novels; Where is the Great Gay Novel?

[Lit Saloon] August online issues
       Among the August issues of online publications now available are Words without Border's Brazil issue -- which includes a section of "Poetry from the Faroe Islands" -- as well as the August issue of Open Letters Monthly.

[Lit Saloon] The Unknown University review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of New Directions' beautiful bilingual edition of (a lot of) Roberto Bolaño's poetry, The Unknown University.

[Guardian Books Blog] The Kindle has turned me off paper books
I'm a rare book dealer, but since getting an e-reader older reading media seem awkward and cumbersomeIt was the second lead story on The News at Ten. JK Rowling, it seems, had just been unmasked as the author of a pseudonymous thriller, The Cuckoo's Calling, under the name Robert Galbraith. By the

[The Millions] Look. No, Don’t Look: My Book Cover, the Angel in the House, and Me
A year ago, when my editor at Tin House Books first asked whether I had any suggestions for the cover of my second novel, The Virgins, I drew a blank. I couldn’t think of anything specific, but I knew what I didn’t want. I tend to dislike covers that are too literal, I told him, and I think that

[Bookslut] The Making of Markova: Diaghilev's Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon by Tina Sutton
sutton tina making of markova

[Bookslut] Thole: "to endure without complaint or resistance"
When you move you pack up the books thinking you'll come back to them the same way, feeling the same about each as you lift it from the cardboard box as you do when you put it in -- the...

[Guardian Books Blog] Jane Austen's ring matters far less than the objects in her fiction
Chattels are a key component of Jane's novels – they matter much less to our understanding of their authorSo Jane Austen's gold and turquoise ring won't be leaving the UK after all. At least, not until the end of September. Last year, American singer Kelly Clarkson bought the ring at auction; now

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Conflicts involving workers rights
It's time for a global minimum wage

[Bookslut] An Interview with Robert Kolker
Maureen Brainard-Barnes. Melissa Barthelemy. Megan Waterman. Amber Lynn Costello. Shannan Gilbert. Names are markers of something more, something bigger than themselves. They whisper on pages, sometimes telling you nothing about the actual person behind the name: the person with hopes...

[The Millions] The First Family of Letters
Want to become a successful writer? Get adopted by Stephen King. With five fiction writers to their name — Stephen, Tabitha King, Joe Hill, Owen King, and his wife, Kelly Braffet — the Kings have turned writing into a family business, according to The New York Times Magazine profile on the clan.

[Guardian Books Blog] Summer voyages: Coasting by Jonathan Raban
An eccentric offshore progress around Britain is a sharp portrait of a nation at war and a brilliant depiction of the shape-shifting seaEarly in Jonathan Raban's Coasting, the author attempts a thumbnail sketch, or perhaps a small-scale nautical chart, of the voyage so far:I got drunk in Torquay,

[The Millions] Kill Them With Kindness
George Saunders delivered a little publicized convocation at Syracuse University this year. His main advice to the class of 2013 — be kind. “And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love.  YOU will gradually be

[Guardian Books Blog] Literary ice cream – what's your flavour?
Would you cool down with a spoonful of War and Peach, or a scoop of Captain Corelli's Mandarin? Only the most novel ice cream flavours will do …It's summer, it's Friday. So what better way could there be to while away the hours left until the weekend begins than by contemplating the fine work of

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: If times were normal
No guarantee of success

[The Millions] Pioneering Television
Make sure to set the DVR to C-SPAN2 this weekend because Konstantin Kakaes will be talking about our own e-book original The Pioneer Detectives at 7:30 p.m. EST on Sunday. Also, listen to Kakaes discuss what happens when scientists are faced with a discovery that challenges their fundamental beliefs

[The Millions] Crystal Methods
Curtis Sittenfeld did some interesting research for her latest novel, Sisterland.  “I went to this New Age bookstore in a distant suburb of St. Louis. I basically went there and was like, ‘I’m doing research,’ and then I un-ironically bought some crystals,” she told The

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Behavior online
Effects of online social network usage on well-being

[NYT] Book Review Podcast: David Rakoff’s Farewell in Verse
Paul Rudnick discusses David Rakoff's final book.

[The Millions] From the Crawleys to the Capulets
Romeo and Juliet is getting the Downton Abbey treatment. The first trailer for Julian Fellowes’ adaptation is out and features Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth as the ill-fated young lovers. Related posts: Get Ready for Downton Abbey’s Third Season The third season of Downton Abbey

[NYT] The Life of Jesus: Reza Aslan Talks About ‘Zealot’
Mr. Aslan's new book is a biography of the historical Jesus.

[Lit Saloon] Solaris reading
       Today from 14:30 on the Atlas Review, in collaboration with the Marina Abramović Institute is hosting a marathon reading of Stanisław Lem's Solaris at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn; see, for example, this announcement -- and Greg Cwik's preview-post

[Lit Saloon] Claire Messud profile
       In The Guardian Alex Clark profiles Claire Messud: 'I still believe at the end somebody will say: and you get an A-minus for your life'.

[Lit Saloon] PEN International/New Voices Award longlist
       They've announced the longlist for the 2013 PEN International/New Voices Award -- "open to unpublished writers aged 18-30", and with a judging panel that includes Alain Mabanckou and Sjón; see also the official press release.

[Bookslut] An Interview with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
When I recently caught up with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, she was in one of her rare lull periods at home in Houston, Texas, having finished almost three solid months of book touring for her latest novel, Oleander Girl. Like...

[Bookslut] A Conversation with Translators Frank Wynne and Peter Bush
It is more or less agreed in the literary community that there are no steadfast rules to writing -- authors can invent styles, voices, languages and worlds, write only on typewriters or seven cups of coffee, consult their editor...

[Salon Books] The suburbs are dead — and that’s not a good thing
One could argue that the resurgence of our cities does not necessarily portend the fall of the suburbs. But while many cities have been benefiting  from an influx of wealth, the suburbs have been suffering a rise in poverty. From 2000 to 2010, the number of poor in the suburbs or the nation’s

[Bookslut] Let the Games Begin by Niccolo Amaniti, translated by Kylee Doust
ammaniti niccolo let the games begin

[Bookslut] Up and Down the Gaza Strip with Dervla Murphy
There have been many great female travel writers -- Margery Kempe (c. 1373-1438) wrote about her extensive pilgrimages to holy sites in Europe and Asia; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), the wife of the British ambassador at Constantinople, described life...

[Bookslut] Familiar Faces, New Stories
Oh, Emily Dickinson. Canonized as a literary saint, she is one of the first American poets we learn about in school. With a personal life shrouded in mystery, Dickinson is endlessly interesting in the way of so many other...

[The Millions] Send In the Clowns
Coulrophobes take heed! You’re not scared of clowns because they’re inherently dark, or even because you caught a few minutes of Stephen King’s IT on television. In fact, you probably owe your fear of clowns to a fellow named Joseph Grimaldi, the “Homo erectus of clown evolution.” When

[Bookslut] The Difficulty of Being by Jean Cocteau, translated by Elizabeth Sprigge
cocteau jean difficulty of being

[Salon Books] Big Pharma’s placebo problem
In May 1993, a mental disorder that had been in DSM-III was repackaged, renamed, and given new life in DSM-IV. It was called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and was listed in the DSM as a mental disorder.49 Up to 8 percent of women were said to suffer from the condition. And the condition was

[Bookslut] Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery
flanery patrick fallen land

[Bookslut] The Classic Horror Stories of H.P. Lovecraft edited by Roger Luckhurst
luckhurst roger classic horror stories of h p lovecraft

[Bookslut] The Translator by Nina Schuyler
schuyler nina translator

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