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Top Book Blogs 11/2013

[Guardian Books Blog] Inside job: 10 crime writers turned detective | John Dugdale
In claiming to have solved a real-life murder mystery, PD James is in distinguished company. Don your deerstalker and join us on the trail of other literary detectivesEdgar Allan Poe, The Mystery of Marie Roget (1842)The boozy progenitor of all detective fiction also inaugurated the "solving" of

[The Millions] A Will Shortz Murder Mystery Reviewed
Will Shortz is best known for editing The New York Times crossword, but over the last decade he has quietly developed a cult following as a mystery writer. In books such as Life: Abbr., The Man Who Used Pen, To Smite (Colloquially), Death in an Early 10th Century Year and The Butler Did It: A

[Lit Saloon] Nordic Council Literature Prize
       The Nordic Council Literature Prize is the leading Scandinavian literary prize, with an impressive list of winners (see also the ones under review at the complete review), and they've now announced that the 2013 prize goes to the Danish Profeterne i

[Lit Saloon] Shahnama Project
       In Varsity Olivia Murphy reports that Persian epic brought to life thanks to £1.2 million gift, describing the latest cash infusion for this very worthy project -- and any excuse to point you to the marvel that is the Shahnama Project at Cambridge is

[Lit Saloon] Most memorable Scottish reads of past 50 years ?
       At the Scottish Book Trust Stuart Kelly (and staff at Scottish Book Trust) picked 'the past half-century's most memorable Scottish reads', in 50 Best Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years -- and you can vote for your favorites (through 22 November).

[Guardian Books Blog] Poster poems: Villains
Evil characters make for good literature, they say, so we're looking for great bad things from you this monthThere's nothing quite as attractive as a good villain, or so we're led to believe. After all, where would the drama be if every character in a story was a goodie? And it's not just true for

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Patent trolls have a new enemy
Sorting out the high-tech patent mess

[Guardian Books Blog] More me time: The Rest Is Noise festival reaches the 70s
With a weekend of literary events focused on Thatcher-era Politics and Spirituality, there's lots to self-interest youThe Rest Is Noise season at the Southbank Centre in London has been getting going again after a long summer break. Last week the investigation of the cultural and political currents

[The Millions] The Alfar
If you run into trouble in Iceland, blame the elves. 54.4 percent of Icelanders believe in the invisible creatures, and elves cause environmental protest today. “Beliefs in misfortune befalling those who dare to build in elf territory is so widespread and frequent that the Icelandic Road and

[Salon Books] The lesson of “Ender’s Game” that Orson Scott Card can’t learn
Orson Scott Card’s science fiction masterpiece "Ender’s Game" is a story about a little boy who is hated by children for being different, written by a man who hates adults for being different from him. Those are flummoxing propositions for fans of the novel to untangle. Now the film adaptation

[The Millions] Recommended Reading: Rose McLarney
Recommended Reading: The Missouri Review’s poem of the week is Rose McLarney’s “Arcadia” from the fall 2013 issue. “It’s the feeling of the inquiry, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?,’ a traveler gets when she walks into a new place and still, somehow,

[Guardian Books Blog] Reader reviews roundup
William Boyd, Morrissey, and Jhumpa Lahiri are among the writers under review this weekNormally a fan of William Boyd's "rollicking yarns", Christopher Philip Howe was left disappointed by Solo, Boyd's newly-published take on an over-the-hill James Bond, calling it a "peculiar book" that feels like

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Onora O'Neill: What we don't understand about trust

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: A more brazen declaration
Is there any reason to take it seriously?

[The Millions] Book Business Savvy
The bookstore business is supposed to be dying, but Ann Patchett begs to differ. She discussed her independent shop, Parnassus Books, and the future of bookstores for The Daily Beast’s “How I Write” series. “I can’t remember the last time I was in a bad bookstore. The

[NYT] Book Review Podcast: Brain Gain
Clive Thompson discusses his new book, "Smarter Than You Think."

[The Millions] Poetry of Surveillence
“Nuclear Chelsea Air Marshal infrastructure Ionosphere Burst.” You can thank the NSA for this haiku. The NSA Haiku Generator is a website that takes commonly flagged terms and turns them into poetry. Have fun messing up the NSA’s algorithms for a day.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Things every environmentalist needs to know
Is environmentalism a religion?

[Salon Books] Why is it always a white guy: The roots of modern, violent rage
Joe Stack had simply had enough. Every time this fifty-three-year-old independent engineer and software consultant from Austin, Texas, had set aside any money at all for retirement, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seemed to change the tax laws or whittled away at his earnings with new

[The Millions] Mad Money
Modern day celebrities aren’t the only victims of Photoshop. Paula Byrne, a Jane Austen biographer, believes that Austen has been “airbrushed” on her £10 Bank of England note. The portrait makes her look like “a pretty doll with big doe eyes” and diminishes her

[Salon Books] How do dogs think?
To truly know what a dog is thinking, you would have to be a dog.The question of what a dog is thinking is actually an old metaphysical debate, which has its origins in Descartes’s famous saying cogito ergo sum—“I think, therefore I am.” Our entire human experience exists solely inside our

[Lit Saloon] PW's best books of 2013
       Well, they waited until November to release it online, but, yes, Publishers Weekly have already decided on their Best Books 2013 -- a hundred titles in various categories.        Of the top ten overall one is actually under

[Lit Saloon] November issues
       Among November issues of online periodicals now available is Words without Borders' Celebrating Our First Ten Years-issue (with some 'Writing from Rwanda', too), as well as the November issue of Open Letters Monthly.

[Lit Saloon] The Everything Store review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Brad Stone on Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon in The Everything Store.

[Bookslut] Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography by Richard Rodriguez
rodriguez richard darling

[Bookslut] Hindered to Succeed: The Great American Spinster Poetess Marianne Moore
For most of their lives, Marianne Moore and her mother, Mary, slept in the same bed. Together with Moore's brother, Warner, the family had many nicknames for each other: two favorites were "Mole" for Mary and "Rat" for Moore. In...

[The Millions] Flying Aces
What happens when two magazine writers publish stories on the same topic within a month of each other? We get to read some of the best long-form journalism of the year. Both Esquire’s Chris Jones and The Washingtonian’s Garrett M. Graff wrote about what it was like to be on Air Force One

[Bookslut] An Interview with Tony O'Neill
Tony O'Neill is not your average writer. Raised in England, he began his career as a touring musician when he was eighteen. By this point, he was already versed in the bleeding nostrils and collapsed veins of the 90s...

[The Millions] Behind the National Book Awards
Our own Edan Lepucki interviewed National Book Award finalists George Saunders and Rachel Kushner for the National Book Foundation. Saunders discussed money issues in his writing. “Now I feel like paucity vs. grace is one of the great American issues—we all live with it every day.”

[The Millions] Takeaway Point
Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that’s exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, “Take It Or Leave It,” for The New Yorker. “I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the

[The Millions] Professor Gaiman
Comic book creator, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, lyricist — is there anything Neil Gaiman hasn’t done? He can add professor to his already impressive resume soon. Gaiman will be joining the Bard College faculty and teaching an advanced fantasy fiction workshop in the 2014 spring

[Salon Books] How the religious right won: Birth of the fundamentalists, in our modern times
Fundamentalism is a paradox. Its partisans—of any faith—call for the return to an imagined arcadia in which God’s voice boomed plainly from scripture. Yet as a historical phenomenon, fundamentalism is wholly modern. It is a set of reactions against the aftershocks of the Enlightenment and the

[The Millions] Bytegeist
This week Margaret Atwood tweeted a photo of her and Alice Munro drinking champagne in a “secret lair.” There’s no denying it — technology has changed the way we tell stories. Atwood and 16 other writers, from Victor LaValle to Lee Child, discussed how technology influences their

[Lit Saloon] Neustadt International Prize for Literature to Mia Couto
       Mozambican author Mia Couto has beat out contenders such as César Aira, Duong Thu Huong, and Murakami Haruki and been named the winner of the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature -- a biennial author-prize that is one of the world's most

[Lit Saloon] Translations from ... Bangla
       In The Daily Star Rifat Munim has a Q & A with Hasan Azizul Haque -- "perhaps the most revered short story writer in contemporary Bangla literature" -- 'Without translation promotion of Bangla literature is impossible'.

[Lit Saloon] Alex review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pierre Lemaitre's thriller Alex.        Alex is the first of Lemaitre's books to be translated into English, but his Au revoir là-haut is also one of the

[Salon Books] Stop calling JFK conservative: The right’s favorite new lie is filled with historical flaws
Conservatives have two favorite ways to deal with liberals. The first, Plan A, is to slander and demonize them. It was part of Rick Santorum's shtick, for example, to blast John F. Kennedy for supposedly kicking religion out of public life—or at least getting the ball rolling.  As he told ABC's

[Bookslut] Half the Kingdom by Lore Segal
segal lore half the kingdom

[Salon Books] Why did Norman Mailer write novels?
Somebody – Octavio Paz, Robert Frost, I don’t know who but somebody – said that “Literature is journalism that stays journalism.” I’ve always taken it to mean that writing that truly reflects its time stays fresh and relevant.Whatever it does mean, I thought of it while reading J.

[Bookslut] Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow by Andy Sturdevant
sturdevant andy potluck supper

[Salon Books] Sheryl Sandberg: “Men need to do more childcare and housework”
For her new book, "What Will It Take to Make a Woman President?," veteran journalist Marianne Schnall interviewed high-achieving women about why the highest glass ceiling in the land is still in place. The following is taken from her talk with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating

[Salon Books] Surviving my mother: A mostly true memoir
"Growing Up Golem: Learning to Survive My Mother, Brooklyn, and Some Really Bad Dates" is a memoir of Donna Minkowitz's real life, but written as though she were a golem -- a magical clay servant-creature out of Jewish legend. Frustrated by the debate over James Frey and inaccuracies in memoir,

[The Millions] Not as Scary as Meeting Norman Mailer
Readers of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature most likely have a good idea of just how much the late Norman Mailer was a wellspring of jokes about writers. The pugilistic novelist, journalist and failed mayoral candidate did choose to title a collection of his work Advertisements for

[Bookslut] An Interview with E. Fuller Torrey
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered an historic speech on mental illness and "retardation," announcing that there would be many new programs to replace "the shabby treatment of the many millions of the mentally disabled in custodial institutions" with...

[Salon Books] Jerry Stahl: Government has a “fascist-adjacent” devotion to business
No one gets to see it all but Jerry Stahl has seen a lot of it. Best known for the addiction memoir "Permanent Midnight," later made into a movie starring Ben Stiller, Stahl's latest book is the novel "Happy Mutant Baby Pills," a biting look at big Pharma. He recently chatted with the writer and

[The Millions] Our Sources are Reliable
Wikipedia states that its ultimate mission is to collect all the knowledge in the world. The biases of its users may earn the site a few jabs, but if a number of studies which compare the site’s articles to those of professional encyclopedias are reliable indicators, its content is accurate enough

[Salon Books] “Saturday Night Live” and Richard Pryor: The untold story behind “SNL’s” edgiest sketch ever
Up until the mid-1970s, the networks had little interest in Saturday late-night shows. After the eleven o’clock news, the airwaves were a bone-yard for local affiliates, the final resting place for schlock movies from the 1950s and ’60s. NBC stations had the option of rerunning recent episodes

[The Millions] Legs All the Way to the Sofa
“It is hard to see why anyone would abandon the generous Pearce Sectional Sofa, so we must assume that whomever was under that cozy throw was taken by force. More signs of abduction: reading glasses left atop a rare antique encyclopedia, a half-finished glass of wine, and a decorative conch shell

[Salon Books] “Double Down” examines the debate that almost cost Obama a second-term election
A recently published excerpt from "Double Down: Game Change 2012," the Mark Halperin and John Heilemann book that goes behind the scenes of the 2012 presidential election, reveals the intense drama that unfolded between Oct. 14 and Oct. 16 in 2012, the 48 hours between President Obama's disastrous

[Bookslut] An Interview with Susan Stinson
Susan Stinson has once again leapt beyond expectations with her new novel, Spider in a Tree, a historical novel about eighteenth-century preacher, theologian, and slave-owner Jonathan Edwards. Her previous work, which includes three novels and a collection of poetry and...


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