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Top Book Blogs 03/2014

[The Millions] Table 4 Today
When restauranteur Elaine Kaufman was alive, she gave writers a refuge at her favorite spot, Table 4. Even though the restaurant and Kaufman are long gone, her memory and devotion to writers live on with the Table 4 Writers Foundation. The foundation gives out $2,500 grants to writers at a gala at

[The Millions] Bill Watterson is Back
We haven’t seen a comic from Bill Watterson in two decades, but he’s back with an illustration. Watterson drew the poster art for a new documentary on comic strips Stripped, which also features him. There are no tigers to be found but a nude man jumping out of his clothes in full color

[Bookslut] E. E. Cummings: A Life by Susan Cheever
cheever susan e e cummings

[Bookslut] Go to Work and Do Your Job. Care for Your Children. Pay Your Bills. Obey the Law. Buy Products. by Noah Cicero
cicero noah go to work and do your job

[Bookslut] Robert Duncan: The Collected Later Poems and Plays edited by Peter Quartermain and Robert Duncan: The Collected Essays and Other Prose by James Maynard
duncan robert collected poems

[The Millions] Steinbeck the Spy
When John Steinbeck wasn’t busy writing 600-page novels, he might have been a Cold War CIA spy. In 1952, Steinbeck approached the CIA and suggested he could do some spying on an upcoming European trip. “The pace and method of my junket together with my intention of talking with

[Salon Books] Bill Clinton vs. Lena Dunham: The Shakespearean battle of boomers and millennials
Millennials and Boomers are the lead characters in the looming generational showdown by dint of their vast numbers and strategic location in the life cycle. But what gives the drama an almost Shakespearean richness is something more: they’re also each other’s children and parents, bound

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Remnick on the Ukraine; Lance Armstrong’s doping regimen
David Remnick has posted an article about the upheaval in the Ukraine, and about Putin’s invasion of Crimea, at the New Yorker’s website. “Putin’s reaction exceeded our worst expectations. These next days and weeks in Ukraine are bound to be frightening, and worse.” Yesterday, the Sports

[Salon Books] How corporate America exports disease to the rest of the world
In the next decade or so, the people and governments of China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and other emerging nations will need to make a momentous decision: whether to follow the Western developed nations down the road of hyperconsumption that leads to premature deaths, preventable illnesses,

[Salon Books] The psychology of hate: How we deny human beings their humanity
One of the most amazing court cases you probably have never heard of had come down to this. Standing Bear, the reluctant chief of the Ponca tribe, rose on May 2, 1879, to address a packed audience in a Nebraska courtroom. At issue was the existence of a mind that many were unable to see.Standing

[The Millions] North Woods Winter Watercolor
Recommended Reading: Oliver Bendorf’s poetry comic “Experiment With Color in a North Woods Winter” at Hobart.

[Bookslut] Ghost at the Loom by T. Zachary Cotler
cotler zachary ghost at the loom

[Salon Books] Amazon buried my novel: Those search algorithms are for sale
Before reading George Packer’s recent New Yorker article on Amazon and its relationship with the publishing industry, I hadn’t considered what forces might be responsible for making a book more or less visible on Amazon. I’d only wondered why my debut novel was being buried beneath a pile of

[Salon Books] Atheism’s radical new heroes: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and an evolving new moral view
In the preface to Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder (1998), Richard Dawkins, then Oxford’s Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, recounted two incidents that in part prompted him to write his new book. One concerned an unnamed foreign publisher who

[The Millions] The Winds of Winter Excerpt
“Somewhere off in the far distance, a dying man was screaming for his mother.” Entertainment Weekly has the first paragraph of the next installment of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

[Bookslut] The Fuzzy Genre Set
I first read Nalo Hopkinson's "Tan-Tan and Dry Bone" in The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. Tan-Tan, worn down by guilt and life's cares, arrives in Duppy Dead Town, "where people go when life boof them, when hope left...

[Bookslut] Alien Thoughts Enter Through Your Pores: On Gilgi by Irmgard Keun
Which is preferable? The author, fresh, at the beginning of her career, unsullied by expectation and full of energy? Or the author after a chastening tutelage, times of disappointment and suffering that have (the theory goes) transformed her into a...

[Bookslut] A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants by Ruth Kassinger
kassinger ruth garden of marvels a

[Bookslut] Karate Chop by Dorothe Nors, translated by Martin Aitken
nors dorthe karate chop

[The Millions] Book Club Guilt
“denial. A defense mechanism predicated on your inability to accept the painful reality that you are supposed to be reading the selected novel that you literally tried to bury.” At The Toast, Zane Shetler writes a glossary of book club defense mechanisms. Pair with: Our essay on spying

[Bookslut] An Interview with Lance Olsen
Lance Olsen is at the center of every discussion I have about the contemporary landscape of innovative and experimental writing. Having authored over twenty-five books, he's as prolific as he is radical: I never, ever know what to expect...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Chloe Aridjis
With the recent publication of Asunder, her second novel, Chloe Aridjis has reaffirmed her status as a painter of estranged atmospheres, of disrupted tones and latent fears. Asunder, a beautiful novel which subtly weaves together the life of a...

[Bookslut] The "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" Roundtable
They say art is hard, but the practice and pressures of art? Well that's a whole other tangle of thorns. It's not uncommon to pick up an issue of Artforum or turn to the pages of Vogue to see...

[Bookslut] The Laughter of Strangers by Michael J. Seidlinger
seidlinger michael j laughter of strangers

[Salon Books] “Boy, Snow, Bird”: The (much) darker side of Snow White
Helen Oyeyemi's new novel, "Boy, Snow, Bird," begins with a cool blonde arriving in a small town. The blonde is named Boy Novak, and she may look like Grace Kelly, but her personality is closer to that of the old film noir goddess Veronica Lake -- skeptical, street smart and tough. She got that way

[The Millions] Free Rides: Writing and Reading on Trains
In local parlance, a “free ride” means riding New Jersey Transit without buying a ticket. For years, that trick was easiest on the Morris-Essex line, with the double-decker trains going westbound from New York City. A free ride from Newark Broad Street to Dover was possible on the 8:19 pm

[Guardian Books Blog] Poem of the week: Look for Me by Vladislav Khodasevich
Wracked with grief, this poem lets the poet's lost friend speak from beyond the inescapable finality that has separated themThis week's choice, Look for Me, is a translation by the poet Peter Daniels of Ищи меня by Vladislav Khodasevich (1886-1939). It's from the handsome, bilingual edition

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Crimea crisis
What is going to happen with Ukraine

[Bookslut] An Answer to My Message
Interlude. My friend B sways in front of my bookcase, trying to pick out a book to borrow. She's just been swearing a set of sloppy vows to be a better person, and this somehow is the result. Dante's...

[The Millions] It Was Nothing, Really
W.H. Auden lived a secret life, not as a man with a second family or an illicit habit but as, weirdly enough, a genuinely kind human being. He paid for a friend’s costly operation and camped outside the apartment of a woman who suffered from night terrors until she felt safe enough to sleep on her

[Bookslut] How To Be Lost: Sex (Race, Class, and Gender) in the City of Light
After graduating from college, I headed to Paris to study contemporary French philosophy -- Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze -- and semiotics with Julia Kristeva. I spent most evenings contemplating the meaning of life while drinking Scotch in a gay...

[Bookslut] Life of a Clown
Ten years ago, a lot of my friends worked for magazines. I did too, and I got enough gigs to pay for the warm brown room where I slept, simply on purpose, with one big window and a mattress on...

[The Millions] The Long Goodbye
A lot of writers have alter-egos, but few are as interesting as Benjamin Black, the crime-writing persona of Irish novelist and Year in Reading alum John Banville. The author’s new novel adds an entry to the saga of a crime-fiction icon: Raymond Chandler’s Angeleno detective, Philip Marlowe.

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Sari Botton, Dani Shapiro, Emily Gould and Chloe Caldwell on NYC

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Suppose it is possible
Scores may not always be the best basis

[The Millions] Time Out of Mind
Are we now living in a golden age of the uncanny? The Millions contributor Porochista Khakpour suspects that we are, and she also suspects that our historical moment, populated as it is with alienating developments and surreal art, is key to understanding the work of Helen Oyeyemi. In the Times,

[The Millions] March Books: A Reading List for Winter’s Thaw
Tom Nissley’s column A Reader’s Book of Days is adapted from his book of the same name. “Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,” beckoned Emily Dickinson. “I have so much to tell.” She liked March: it brings, she wrote, a light like no other time of the year, a

[Salon Books] Not Philip Roth: “The modern Golden Age you speak of is one of fraudulency and pretense”
The following is an interview that Neal Pollack, The Greatest Living American Writer, gave to Ingemar Johannesen, literary editor at Svensk Reklam Cirkulär (The Swedish Advertising Circular), upon Pollack’s announcement that he would be retiring from global literary life after 73 years at its

[NYT] The Read Around: Video of Roddy Doyle
Mr. Doyle discusses the inspiration for his new novel, "The Guts," which revisits a character from "The Commitments."

[The Millions] Nit-Pick
Why does the new Liam Neeson film use a hyphen in its title? According to AP Style, “nonstop” is one word, yet the film is marketed stateside with a hyphen stuck in the middle. At Slate, L.V. Anderson looks into a typographic mystery.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Ukraine in context
The crisis in Ukraine isn't the start of another Cold War

[The Millions] What Ails You
Recommended Reading: Andrew Solomon on tribal cures for depression.

[NYT] Poetry Profiles: Black Ocean
Carrie Olivia Adams, the poetry editor of Black Ocean, talks about the publisher's work.

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Whose Life Is It Anyway?
An enterprising reporter tries—and mostly fails—to regain privacy online

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Pierre Omidyar’s political affiliations
On Friday, one Mark Ames posted a story on PandoDaily in which he investigated Pierre Omidyar’s contributions to Ukraine revolutionary groups. Omidyar, the founder of eBay, is bankrolling the much-talked-about First Look Media. What does this say about First Look? Not much, says Glenn Greenwald,

[The Millions] Getting With the Program: On MFA vs. NYC
Reading Chad Harbach’s 2010 essay “MFA vs. NYC” today one feels keenly the four years that have elapsed since it first appeared in the magazine he co-founded, n+1. At the start of 2010, the iPad did not exist and Borders did. By that year, MFA programs had proliferated from just 79 in 1976 to

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Oyeyemi; Mengestu; Grand; Hadley; Calhoun; Dillen
Year in Reading alum Helen Oyeyemi has a new novel on shelves this week, as does New Yorker 20 Under 40 honoree Dinaw Mengestu. Also out: Mount Terminus by David Grand; Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley; Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun and Beauty by Frederick Dillen. Bonus Links: You can now subscribe

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The influence of rap and hip-hop music
Hip hop and the 21st century public intellectual

[The Millions] Warm Ups
As you might have heard, the tenth annual Morning News Tournament of Books will commence this Thursday, and to kick things off, the site held a pre-Tournament playoff round. In it, Lev Grossman and David Gutowski (aka Largehearted Boy) try to predict what Geraldine Brooks will choose as her novel of

[The Millions] “Anything but the perfect external man”
Philip Roth may have retired, but that doesn’t mean he’s done giving interviews. The author recently sat down with the editor of a Swedish newspaper, who talked with him about misogyny, Sabbath’s Theater and the need for “obstinacy” in a writer. (Related: our own Hannah Gersen reviewed

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