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Top Book Blogs 12/2013

[Guardian Books Blog] 1. The year one
As the Christmas countdown begins, we will be running daily extracts from Barnaby Rogerson's fascinating Book of Numbers. Our advent calendar, appropriately enough, starts at the season's very beginningOur western dating system – BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – Year of Our Lord) – was

[Salon Books] Millennials, make up your mind! On religion, they want it both ways
Whether we are born into one religion or two (or more, or none), our spiritual identity evolves as long as we think and breathe. Faith may wax or wane, allegiance shift, inspiration arrive in the form of a brief mystical encounter or new love. Every one of us creates a complex map of personal

[The Millions] “What does any human being want?”
In the Times, Dwight Garner reviews the new edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Black Quotations, a compendium of quotes from notable black writers dating from ancient times to the present. Among other figures, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston and Cory Booker all have quotes in

[The Millions] Soder v. Soda
The popularity of Joshua Katz’s American dialect maps inspired The Atlantic to create their own dialect video. In it, Atlantic staff members call people from across the country, recording them so listeners can hear their accents, and ask them to answer questions from a 2003 Harvard survey.

[The Millions] Tidy Little Man
To date, Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, is the only fictional character to get his own obit in the Times. At the LARB, Rumblr editor Molly McArdle looks back on Poirot, the very long-running TV series that ended on November 13th. (h/t The Rumpus)

[The Millions] The Illusion of Control
Recommended Reading: Maria Konnikova on “flow” and first-person shooters.

[Salon Books] Psychopaths: Some are just like us!
Psychopathy is not something one can just casually assess, although there are versions of the test that can be self-administered and are not “officially” diagnostic. A typical question on a self-administered checklist might be, “I can be shrewd, crafty, sly, and clever—if needed, I can also

[The Millions] The Millions Top Ten: November 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

[The Millions] Big Picture
The cartoonist Joe Sacco has a new graphic novel out that uses a twenty-four-foot panorama to depict the first day of the Battle of the Somme. At Salon, Sacco tells Daniel D’Addario that his upbringing in Australia, where the landings at Gallipoli have great patriotic significance, helped to

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Dec/Jan 2014

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Tripping Points
What does it take to get ahead in America? Something more than plucky adventure stories

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Frenzies of Renown
James Franco, America’s most no-no-notorious grad student, now delivers what they say is a novel. It’s called Actors Anonymous (Little A/New Harvest, $26), and it comes to us from New Harvest, an imprint of Amazon, so don’t look for it at Barnes & Noble. (New Harvest sounds

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: The Winner Loses
Curzio Malaparte's horrific novel of Naples after the war

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: The Man Who Has Everything
A look at Jeff Bezos's relentless drive to master all phases of Web commerce

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Immigrant Song
Gary Shteyngart's memoir lays out the surprising inspirations behind his comic muse

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: The Gospel According to Norman
Two new books wrestle with Mailer's myths and his legacy

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Insolent Witness
Hilton Als, a theater critic at the New Yorker for the past eleven years, knows how to make an entrance. The thirteen essays collected in White Girls—the long-awaited follow-up to his book The Women (1996)—all jump off spectacularly. His lead sentence for “White Noise,” on

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Rites of Spring
A chronicle of Egypt's uprising comes to grips with political reality

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Peter Kaplan dies at age 59; How to steal the world’s most valuable books
Longtime New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan died on Friday at the age of 59. In a New Republic profile from last fall, Nathan Heller said of Kaplan, “Much of New York’s journalism world has come to regard Kaplan as a distant but endearing uncle—quirky, steeped in lore, and something

[Book Forum] INTERVIEW: Bookforum talks with Hilton Als
"I didn't want to do a typical collection; I wanted to do a book that was based around this idea of it all being one story. So I guess it's all one story about a sensibility, and I don't think that anybody loves any sensibility completely. Maybe people will like it. Or be irritated by it—which is

[Guardian Books Blog] 2. The Two Things game
Each day in the run-up to Christmas, we present an extract from Barnaby Rogerson's fascinating Book of Numbers. Today, our festive countdown reveals that any discipline can be boiled down to two basic principles[1] People love to play the Two Things game, but rarely agree about what the two things

[Lit Saloon] December issues
       Some nice winter treats to get you started with in December, as issues of a variety of online periodicals are now available with a load of great reading -- notably: Words without Borders' December issue features the Oulipo -- with a bonus section on:

[Lit Saloon] André Schiffrin (1935-2013)
       Noted publisher -- especially at Pantheon Books and then at the New Press, which he founded -- André Schiffrin has passed away; see Robert D. McFadden's obituary in The New York Times, André Schiffrin, Publishing Force and a Founder of New Press,

[Lit Saloon] Literature in ... Viet Nam
       At VietNamNet Bridge they report that there seems to be a pretty widespread local consensus that in Viet Nam Quality literature in dramatic slump.        (Of course, Dương Thu Hương was, for example, one

[Lit Saloon] Perumal Murugan profile
       In The Caravan, N. Kalyan Raman writes about 'The Kongunadu novels of Perumal Murugan', the Tamil author, in Boats against the Current, offering an interesting introduction into Tamil fiction historically, and then Perumal Murugan's work in particular.

[Guardian Books Blog] Poem of the week: The Line of Beauty by Arthur O'Shaughnessy
A remarkably gentle vision of the end of days, and what little might surviveThe title of this week's poem, "The Line of Beauty" by Arthur O'Shaughnessy, will be familiar to many readers as the title of the fine novel by Alan Hollinghurst, which won the Booker prize in 2004. Both poem and novel's

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: 2013
Another year of living, another year of reading. And, if you’re like us, when you look back, you’ll mark out the year in books — weeks, months, even whole seasons that will forever be wedded in the mind to a memorable reading experience. Each book put back on the shelf becomes a

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Stephen Dodson (Languagehat)
I don’t tend to read a lot of new English-language fiction. This isn’t from any sort of prejudice; it’s a side effect of the fact that I’m trying to go through the entirety of Russian literature, which takes up most of my available reading time. Fortunately, my writer friend Jim Salant

[Bookslut] Dark Night of the Soul Soup
2013 has not been my best year, although as it comes to a close I've realized that at least I've gotten better at managing the frustrations that littered its path. For instance, at the beginning of the year I...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Trisha Low
Like a moth to the flame, Trisha Low is hard not to notice, much less look away. Maybe it's because she is a futurist-inclined, teenage-girl-defending, performer-cum-writer whose work stretches the boundaries of everything for which women are both shunned and...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The long shadow of slavery
Can America face up to the terrible reality of slavery in the way that Germany has faced up to the Holocaust?

[Bookslut] Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce
luce kelly three scenarios in which

[Bookslut] Dwelling in Possibility by Howard Mansfield
mansfield howard dwelling in possibility

[Bookslut] When Do We Start Becoming Writers?
In nearly all in-depth interviews with writers, the question of artistic influence from their parents arises. Each time it does, I answer it for myself while reading online or listening in my car: absolutely none. My father is retired from...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Dror Burstein
Dror Burstein is a telescope. To read Netanya, the Israeli author's new memoir, is to pass inside the Givatayim observatory where Burstein's grandfather once accompanied him, where the magnified vision of the moon so overwhelmed him that he spent...

[The Millions] One Kind of Coating
At Bookforum, Gee Henry talks with New Yorker staff writer Hilton Als, whose new collection of essays, White Girls, tackles subjects including Eminem, Truman Capote and Gone with the Wind. The writer also delves into his affection for André Leon Talley.

[Bookslut] Everything Happens As It Does by Albena Stambolova, translated by Olga Nikolova
stambolova albena everything happens as it does

[Bookslut] The Year of No Mistakes by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
aptowicz cristin o'keefe year of no mistakes the

[Bookslut] Tennyson: To Strive, to Seek, to Find by John Batchelor
batchelor john tennyson

[Bookslut] Descended From Horse-Thieves: Who was Barbara Stanwyck?
It would be inaccurate to call Victoria Wilson's nearly 1,000-page biography A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 exhaustive. For one, it only covers the first thirty-three years of the actress's life, with fifty more to go. But more importantly,...

[Bookslut] Saving the World. Again.
With winter break looming large, it's time to get a stack of books together for a nice long afternoon of escapist fiction. Go ahead and indulge yourself with these adventures -- I'm sure you deserve them! Gwenda Bond provides...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Daniel Alarcón
There are many facets to stories, and many ways for them to be told. They can, for example, vary in their media, in their structure, and in their content. In At Night We Walk In Circles, Daniel Alarcón plays...

[Bookslut] An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle by Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff, and Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica edited by Michael Duncan
The poet Ronald Johnson rather infamously referred to San Francisco as Oz, the Emerald City. He freely intermingled his love of Frank L. Baum's novels about the magical realm with his poeticized vision of the real city in which he...

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Claire Messud
I read a lot of wonderful books this year, many of them new, and others simply new to me. I loved Amity Gaige’s Schroder, and Victoria Redel’s Make Me Do Things, Roxana Robinson’s Sparta – to name but a few. But this year was, for me, most profoundly about re-discoveries and re-readings. I

[Guardian Books Blog] Tips, links and suggestions: What are you reading this week?
The space to talk about the books you are reading and the authors and topics you would like to see covered on the siteGuardian readersHannah Freeman

[Book Forum] VIDEO: A Poetry Reading by Richard Blanco

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Not the time
Who's out-of-touch now?

[The Millions] Early Birds
If you’ve ever wondered how old your favorite authors were when they hit their creative peaks, you’ll enjoy this graphic, which charts the ages at which well-known writers published their most famous works.

[NYT] The Read Around: Carla Kaplan
Ms. Kaplan says being a white woman in the field of black studies helped her sympathize with the women in her new book, “Miss Anne in Harlem.”

[Bookslut] The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski by Samantha Geimer
geimer samantha girl the

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