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Top Book Blogs 10/2014

[Lit Saloon] Forward Prizes for Poetry
       They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the winners of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, with Kei Miller's The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion taking the £10,000 best collection prize; see the Carcanet publicity page, or get your copy at

[Lit Saloon] Samar Yazbek Q & A
       At Qantara.de Claudia Kramatschek has a Q & A with Syrian author Samar Yazbek, Divided society, divided souls.        The book they discuss, which has just come out in German, is available in English as Cinnamon; see

[Lit Saloon] Streaming Gilmore Girls
       Apparently it's big news that Netflix will be streaming the TV show Gilmore Girls starting today. As someone who does not use/have Netflix I don't really know what this actually means, but I've been impressed/amused by the copious amounts of Gilmore

[Lit Saloon] Two for Meursault, contre-enquête
       I was excited to recently see the fascinating-sounding variation-on-Camus by Kamel Daoud, Meursault, contre-enquête, make the first cuts of both the Goncourt and the Renaudot -- the two leading French literary prizes. Warming up for those, the book has

[Lit Saloon] Prizes: Cundill Prize shortlist
       Although Canada-based, the folks behind the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature know a loonie is just a loonie and so offer their pay-out in real money: US dollars [I kid, I kid; please -- no e-mails/protests/boycotts] -- and, at 75,000 of them, they lay

[Lit Saloon] Lyudmila Ulitskaya profile
       In the current issue of The New Yorker Masha Gessen profiles Lyudmila Ulitskaya -- surely also one of the maybe two dozen authors in the serious running for the Nobel Prize.        As Gessen notes, Daniel Stein, Interpreter

[Lit Saloon] The Man Between review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Open Letter's tribute-volume to Michael Henry Heim & A Life in Translation, The Man Between, edited by Esther Allen, Sean Cotter, and Russell Scott Valentino.

[The Millions] Is There No Gender Equity in Nonfiction?
When the National Book Awards Longlist for Nonfiction was released this week with only one woman author out of 10 nominees (and only one person of color), I thought, wow, the jury (two of whom are women) must have completely missed the increasingly vociferous discussions over the past few years

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: When technology became a musical instrument
Is there such a thing as a "perfect recording"?

[The Millions] Villain’s Law
Over the weekend, Canada’s National Post ran a book review by our own Michael Bourne, who contributed a piece on Bright Lights, Big City this week. In the review, Michael reads Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle, which he says reaffirms the rule that bad guys are always more interesting.

[Guardian Books Blog] Who said it, Lena Dunham or Hannah Horvath? quiz
Lena Dunham's newly published memoir is full of literary revelations that could come from the central character in her HBO show Girls, which is loosely based on her life. Can you tell reality and fiction apart? Lena Dunham: 'I just want to work the death thing out' Continue reading...

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Richard Flanagan on The Narrow Road to the Deep North

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Far more intriguing
In better shape than you might think

[The Millions] Our New Enemy
The new issue of The Enemy is out, and it’s got some goodies which may be of interest to Millions readers. Among them are two new poems by Ruth Ellen Kocher, who won the 2014 PEN Open Book prize; an appraisal of the value of bad art by sociologist Alison Gerber; and a reassessment of the MFA by

[The Millions] An Inoculation Against Mistrust: Eula Biss’s On Immunity
In 18th-century England, most everyone got smallpox, an infectious disease that results in terrific rashes and blisters on the skin. Facial scars left over from an infection were a common occurrence. This was true for everyone, regardless of class or station in society, except for milkmaids. It was

[The Millions] 1 Origin Story
Recommended Reading: Sam Bungey on the origins of the listicle.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: A view from South Asia
Is there any hope for India-Pakistan relations?

[The Millions] The Future Is Now
Back in 2013, Ted Gioia wrote a piece for The Millions about an old sci-fi novel that correctly predicted the future. Since then, he’s embarked on an ambitious project that expands on his interest in sci-fi, exploring how the most radical sci-fi writers of the sixties paved the way for much of

[Salon Books] Our Gchats, ourselves: Why chat excerpts make good literature
Lena Dunham’s memoir “Not That Kind of Girl” unsurprisingly features plenty of intimate, well-turned insights into Dunham's personal life. But one particular highlight is her excerpted journal entries, emails, instant message convos, and Gchats. At first, this practice may sound like a crutch.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: New York Times to eliminate mobile app NYT Opinion
The American Scholar has started a list of bad opening lines of novels—Richard Powers’s opening of Galatea 2.2, to take one example: “It was like so, but wasn’t.” Two new funders of Reddit, according to a list the website recently released: Jared Leto and Snoop Dogg. People are betting on

[Lit Saloon] Prize: Goldsmiths Prize shortlist
       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Goldsmiths Prize -- a £10,000-prize: "awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best".

[Lit Saloon] Prize: Berliner Literaturpreis
       Another day, another German author prize announcement (several, actually, but this seems like the most noteworthy one): they've announced that Olga Martynova will get next year's Berliner Literaturpreis (confusingly also known as the Berliner Preis für

[Lit Saloon] 파주 북소리 !
       It's time -- from tomorrow through 12 October -- for 파주 북소리 -- Paju Booksori, the big book festival at South Korea's famous 'book city'.        In the Korea JoongAng Ilbo Kim Hyung-Eun has

[Lit Saloon] Betrayal review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of a new translation of the second of Giorgio Scerbanenco's Duca Lamberti-quartet, published as Betrayal by Hersilia Press last year, and now available in the US from Melville House as Traitors to

[Lit Saloon] The last 100 reviews
       So having reached (and now passed) 3400 reviews at the complete review it's time to look at the numbers re. the past 100 reviews (3301-3400):         - the 100 reviews were posted in 181 days (previous hundred: 187 days),

[The Millions] The Truce Between Fabulism and Realism: On Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the Modern Novel
1. When Gabriel Garcia Marquez died in April, the general flow of eulogy settled on two interpretations of his legacy: in the first, as a titanic but essentially regional author (The Times obituary called One Hundred Years of Solitude “the defining saga of Latin America’s social and political

[Guardian Books Blog] The 2014 Goldsmiths prize shortlist: why its neither creative nor daring
Book prizes are good for writers, but not when an abundance of great fiction is overlooked in favour of the same few novelsI was all fired up for the announcement of the 2014 Goldsmiths prize: an award dedicated to creative daring and experimental fiction, a prize set up partly in response to the

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The analytic tradition in philosophy
What's your opinion of history of analytic philosophy?

[Guardian Books Blog] What are your favourite childrens poems?
A National Poetry Day survey produced a depressing list. Surely we can do better than Humpty Dumpty. Share your nursery rhyme-free alternatives to this top 10 ranking of childrens poems The Owl and the Pussycat voted most popular childhood poemCan it really be true? The nation AKA 2,000 people

[The Millions] The Toast & The Butter
The Toast announced their first vertical this week, and even better than its name (The Butter, of course) is its editor – Roxane Gay, darling of the literary internet and author of Bad Feminist and An Untamed State. In answer to the question “What will this particular vertical be

[The Millions] The Ideal Essay
“An ideal essay is hard to define, but easy to point to. An ideal essay mines the “I” in efforts of high exposition. It is driven by a need to testify or witness, and demands the same of its reader. It is a glimpse of something uncomfortably recognizable, a requiem for the quotidian, a

[Guardian Books Blog] Poems we know by heart: our readers recite video
Its National Poetry Day, and weve been celebrating by collecting videos you filmed while reciting poems you know by heart from Oscar Wilde to William Blake via a lot of Shakespeare. Here are some of our favouritesLike these? Share your own via GuardianWitnessNational Poetry Day is here, and with it

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Lois Lowry for the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out!

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: One and the same
Something is rotten

[The Millions] Crime and Punishment and Singing
Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s Crime and Punishment is getting the musical treatment, and though “it does not seem the most likely candidate to provide musical fun for all the family” for a long list of reasons – “heavy drinking, prostitution, a double axe murder and hours of

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The strange revival of nationalism in global politics
Will nationalism remain the dominant force in shaping of international relations in the XXI century?

[The Millions] Living Characters
“I don’t think writing the truth makes you strong by default. I think it makes you vulnerable, which in turn can make you strong.” Amy Jo Burns writes for Ploughshares about the difficulties of “Writing About Other People” and the upcoming publication of her debut memoir,

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Should we ignore Internet trolls or respond to them?
At Buzzfeed, Emily Gould says that the usual advice of how to react to online trolls is at best unhelpful and at worst harmful: “People who tell women to ‘just ignore’ gendered criticism, bullying, and harassment — which I’m fine with lumping together, because they’re all components of a

[The Millions] Kindness Is Voluntary: On Ian McEwan’s The Children Act
At the bottom of Ian McEwan’s new novel The Children Act, a brisk tour of the English family courts, is the same bitter pill the writer has been mulling over since his early work, refusing to swallow.  A youthful and artistic idealism must be sacrificed to responsible administration. In The

[Guardian Books Blog] Poster poems: forgetting
National Poetry Day asked us to remember. Heres your chance to consider the other side of the coin, with your poems on the everyday phenomenon of obliterationThursday was National Poetry Day, with this years theme being memory or at least I think it was. I seem to remember weve already covered

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Wreaking havoc in Ukraine
Vladimir Putin might fall

[The Millions] Two Davids and The Bone Clocks
Recommended listening: David Naimon interviews David Mitchell about “time, maps, cats,” and The Bone Clocks (which we reviewed here) for Between the Covers.

[Salon Books] My kid doesn’t like books and it’s okay
Before my daughters were born, I wondered endlessly what they would be like. Would they be princess girls, sporty girls, take-things-apart-and-put-them-back-together girls? Would they be quiet like their father or mouthy like their mom? I loved the mysteries that I carried within me. But on a few

[The Millions] Speaking like Shakespeare
“What did Shakespeare’s English sound like to Shakespeare?” A father and son team are working to answer this question, recover Shakespeare’s original pronunciation and perform his plays in the new-old style, and lest this sound like a silly exercise in scholarship consider that

[Book Forum] VIDEO: David Sedaris on his humbling plane ride | On Leadership

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: A lot of buzz
No one is paying attention

[The Millions] Please, Oh Please: On Madam Secretary and the Ladies of TV    
1. The NBC Wednesday night lineup ad shows Debra Messing Mariska Hargitay, and Sophia Bush, side by side, sultry-eyed and pointing guns at the camera.   Lady cops, badasses all, and with great hair. There’s been much ado lately about powerful women on TV. Between Shonda Rimes’s Olivia

[NYT] Early Sherlock Holmes Film Discovered in Paris
A 1916 silent film starring William Gillette as the detective was found in the archive of the Cinémathèque française.

[The Millions] Writing Mirrors
“Here is the trouble with looking for ourselves in the writers whose works we admire, at least if we are proposing to be their biographers. For if we are in search of ourselves, or in this case our own troubled teenaged selves roaming New York, then we are apt to downplay those parts of the

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How America thinks about food
Who can really afford to eat healthy in the U.S.?


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