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Top Book Blogs 11/2014

[The Millions] Fitzgerald’s Football
“F. Scott Fitzgerald is known as one of America’s greatest authors, but was he also responsible for one of football’s most important strategic advances? Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.” Kevin Draper writes about Fitzgerald’s love and possible genius for the game.

[Salon Books] Why are we crying? The complicated truth about the tears that we shed
After the fall of Troy and the end of the Trojan War, Aeneas arrives at Carthage on his way to Italy to found a new city. At Juno’s temple he sees painted images of the fallen heroes of the war, and he weeps. Crying as an emotional response, especially to sadness and bereavement, is portrayed in

[The Millions] Bookstore MFA
“There’s something about shopping for books where you’re open for anything. You’re faced with a wall of books, and you don’t know anything about most of them. At some point, it’s just you and the poems.” Carl Adamshick talks with the Los Angeles Review of Books about

[Bookslut] She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya, illustrated by Raymond Biesinger
shraya vivek she of the mountains

[The Millions] Books vs. “Books”
Recommended reading: Alex Beam on the distinction between books and “books.”

[Salon Books] Mark Twain’s democratic ideal: How truth, laughter defeat “sweet-smelling, sugar-coated lies”
Mark Twain undertook the project of an autobiography in 1870 at the age of thirty-five, still a young man but already established as the famous author of "Innocents Abroad" and confident that he could navigate the current of his life by drawing upon the lessons learned thirteen years earlier as a

[Bookslut] News from You
Girls in fairy tales rarely have friends. Some have sisters, but then it's more important that they are sisters: twinned or triplicate, mirrored, fractured. Many have helpers: sub- or superhumans with no lives of their own. That is what I...

[Bookslut] Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes from San Francisco's Housing Wars by James Tracy
tracy james dispatches against displacement

[Bookslut] The Late Child and Other Animals by Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger
van cook marguerite late child and other animals the

[Bookslut] "Great Hera!" "Suffering Sappho!": The Secret History of Wonder Woman
In 1937, William Moulton Marston, Harvard-trained psychologist, inventor of the lie detector test, and soon-to-be creator of Wonder Woman (first appearing in 1941), earned himself headlines when he declared that women would one day rule the world. In her extraordinary...

[Salon Books] Roz Chast: “I’m aware that a lot of people probably hate my stuff. But I hate a lot of people’s work, too”
Where most of the cartoonists profiled in this book had at least one educator for a parent, Roz Chast had a pair of them: Her father, George Chast, was a French and Spanish teacher at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, while her mother, Elizabeth, was an assistant principal at various public grade

[Salon Books] My date with President Kennedy: “He was like a 14-year-old high school football player on the make”
Before Jacqueline Bouvier came along, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Margaret Coit dated John F. Kennedy, a young senator who would become the 35th president of the United States a few years later. This historian’s little-known oral history at the JFK Library provides a first-hand acount of

[Salon Books] Oscar Wilde invented Kim Kardashian: Sex tapes, the new celeb culture, and the importance of being famous
I thought of Oscar Wilde when I read about the recent arrest of Mike (the Situation) Sorrentino. Can’t see the connection? Let me explain.I wasn’t shocked to learn Sorrentino was taken into custody. He had displayed far too many examples of poor impulse control on ”Jersey Shore.” What was

[Bookslut] An Interview with Carrie Olivia Adams
Carrie Olivia Adams lives in Chicago, where she is a book publicist for the University of Chicago Press, the poetry editor for Black Ocean, and a biscuit maker and whiskey drinker. She is the author of Forty-One Jane Doe’s...

[The Millions] “Carefully Arranged Derangement”
“Literature offers a way of framing, or reckoning with, the chaos of a universe we can never truly know.” The LA Times interviewed Denis Johnson about his new novel The Laughing Monsters, an excerpt of which can be read online here.

[Bookslut] Coming in from the Cold: Outsider Art in Literature
For fourteen years James Hampton spent five to six hours a night in a rented alleyway garage off Seventh Street in Washington, D.C. He shared the nature of these late-night excursions with neither his family nor his coworkers at the...

[Bookslut] Back to Butter
A long time ago, I read a food blog where a woman made jam from fruit that was ripe the summer she was pregnant and saved a jar for when her baby would be old enough to eat it. I...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Paula Young Lee
The title of Paula Young Lee's latest book (her fifth) is Deer Hunting in Paris. The subtitle, which announces it's a memoir (her first), includes two very loaded words, "God" and "Guns." The sub-subtitle explains further: "How a preacher's...

[The Millions] Weird: France & Belgium
Recommended recommendations: Weird Fiction Review has compiled a list of notable “weird” French and Belgian writers.

[Bookslut] The Missing Pieces by Henri Lefebvre, translated by David L Sweet
lefebvre henri missing pieces the

[Salon Books] Martin Short: My “Saturday Night Live” hell
I wish I’d enjoyed Saturday Night Live more. I wish I hadn’t felt so perpetually under pressure when I worked there. But I think that’s just what the show does to some people. I certainly knew that I was at a pivotal moment in my career, and that if I made this SNL thing work, it would open

[Bookslut] Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
lish atticus preparation for the next life

[The Millions] Consider the Chapter
“What does the chapter’s beginnings reveal about the way our books and stories are still put together?” Nicholas Dames answers with an essay in The New Yorker.

[Bookslut] Trespass by Thomas Dooley, and They Don't Kill You Because They're Hungry, They Kill You Because They're Full by Mark Bibbins
dooley thomas trespass

[Bookslut] Ciao, Carpaccio!: An Infatuation by Jan Morris
morris jan ciao carpaccio

[Bookslut] Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds
olds sharon stag's leap

[Salon Books] Fast, cheap and out of control: How hyper-consumerism drives us mad
Market capitalism has long been associated not only with rationality but also with the freedom of choice. By the latter half of the twentieth century, economic principles defined reason as much as reason characterized markets. Rationality came to be defined largely by what made economic sense,

[Salon Books] It’s time to embrace Denis Johnson’s beautiful corruption
Critics have never entirely gotten over "Jesus' Son," Denis Johnson's spare yet hallucinatory 1992 short story collection about a series of addicts and drifters (who might or might not be the same young man), meandering through an underworld of dead-end jobs and petty crime. It's a perfect book, and

[Salon Books] Sex and the single evangelical: Purity balls, odd daddy roles, and saving it for Jesus Christ
In May 2008, at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a group of conservative evangelicals gathered for a gala event to honor their unmarried daughters. The hosts, Randy and Lisa Wilson, organized the Generations of Light Purity Ball, a glamorous occasion with floral centerpieces, a

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: The Washington Post: “a shadow of its former self”
In a piece about the recently deceased Ben Bradlee, Bookforum editor Chris Lehmann describes the former WaPo editor’s memorial service and notes: “Part of what made the scene at the cathedral a bit harrowing in its palpable longing to continue worshiping the fallen editorial hero of the

[The Millions] What to Read When You’re Not Expecting
At the beginning of A Man in Love, Karl Ove Knausgaard is at a birthday party with his wife and three children. He eats cake, changes diapers, lets us know how bad he is at small talk and then proves it when he gives a woman his opinion on only children. “The single-child scenario seems a bit sad

[Bookslut] An Interview with Peter Bebergal
I consider myself a logical person: I don't believe there is a white guy named God who can see everything I've done. I don't believe that angels flit around in the air. I feel as many do: skeptical at things...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Making the modern family
Why do parents make parenting sound so God-awful?

[Bookslut] An Interview with Robert Damon Schneck
Monsters are a part of history dating back to Herodotus in his Histories, and Pliny the Elder doesn't leave them out of his exhaustive Natural History. Today the unexplained is tidily swept into fiction or even more marginalized as occult....

[The Millions] Tales of a Fanboy
If you’ve been on the Internet at any point in the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Twin Peaks is coming back. The seminal (and seminally weird) show by David Lynch will return for nine episodes in 2016. At The Nervous Breakdown, Joshua Lyons explains what the show meant to him, with

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Story of Pain by Joanna Bourke
For some, pain is a living hell. For others, it is a symptom of life, or even a pleasure. There is no answer, then, to the question "What is pain?" But we do try to understand it, and Joanna Bourke's new book is a timely examination of how we grapple with pain through law, medicine, religion, and

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Banned Books Week 2014: A Look Back

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: There's only one thing
There is a certain sadness about reading

[The Millions] Alone in the Dark
For the most part, your average writer’s retreat is a pretty cushy place. Its amenities are designed to let its guests turn their energies to the difficulties of artistic work. At The Paris Review Daily, Rex Weiner writes a dispatch from a different sort of retreat — a haunted house for

[The Millions] Almost Famous
“All biography is ultimately fiction,” wrote Bernard Malamud, which is true but it’s far more insidious than that. Yes, there’s a considerable amount of fictionalizing involved in creating an unbroken narrative from fragmentary sources and in choosing which events to highlight and which to

[Guardian Books Blog] Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?
Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of themWelcome to this weeks blog. Heres a roundup of your comments and photos from last week.The pending arrival of winter set caminoamigo off on some comfort reading: ...because the winter will be long and I just want to spend some

[The Millions] Flyboys
Recommended Reading: James Salter on a new book about American pilots in World War I.

[NYT] Type(writer) Casting: A Book of Short Stories From Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks, who loves typewriters, has sold a short story collection inspired by them.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Doubling down on democracy
Why democracy is worth fighting for — now more than ever

[The Millions] Strange and New
Last week, I pointed readers to an article about Michael Faber’s latest book and his decision to quit writing fiction. Now, in the Times Book Review, Marcel Theroux sizes up the novel, writing that “the reader is drawn through the book effortlessly, by the combination of incidental strangeness

[Salon Books] What Richard Ford owes to David Chase: How Frank Bascombe turned into Tony Soprano
In early 2013, Richard Ford gave a reading in New York City during which his great protagonist Frank Bascombe — the writer-turned-realtor of “The Sportswriter,” “Independence Day” and “The Lay of the Land” — resurfaced after an absence of seven years. Bascombe’s reappearance

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Jill Abramson’s improbable startup; Condé Nast’s new home
Jill Abramson, the former Times executive editor, revealed more details of the media company she’s working on with journalist Steven Brill. Abramson says she’ll pay $100,000 advances (yes, you read that correctly) to writers so they can work on novella-length stories that will be featured

[Guardian Books Blog] Baddies in books: Medea, the magnificent monster
Euripides Medea is a woman of fabulous vengefulness, who murders her own children to wrest power from a faithless husbandMedea the monstrous kills her children to punish her faithless husband. As she-devils go, shes up there. No greater offence than the murder of ones own defenceless babies.And yet.

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Johnson; Ford; Millet; Hunter; Kadare; Jin; Rash; Self
Out this week: The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson; Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford; Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet; Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter; Twilight of the Eastern Gods by Ismail Kadare; A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin; Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash; and

[The Millions] The Boy Who Would Be Crichton
As a child, I thought of myself as a prodigy. In the sixth grade I picked out a paperback from the school library for no other reason than it appeared difficult to read and would, I imagined, suggest to teachers and classmates a secret literary acumen. I paraded through the hallways at school,

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