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Top Book Blogs 12/2014

[Guardian Books Blog] Poem of the week: Cat by John Gallas
In this modern take on Baudelaire, a moment of sensual connection with a pet resonates with a lover’s unknowabilityThe New Zealand-born poet John Gallas recently published an enticing and timely collection of translations, 52 Euros. The “Euros”, 26 male and 26 female poets, range from

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: 2014
This series was first conceived in 2004 as a way to get a fledgling website about books through a busy holiday season. Realizing I had spent much of that year with my nose in books that were two, 20 or 200 years old, I was wary of attempting to compile a list of the year’s best books that

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Stephen Dodson (Languagehat)
I earn my living copyediting books, usually for Oxford University Press; while this is a reasonably pleasant occupation, and I often learn things from the material I edit, it doesn’t usually intersect with the range of books I read for pleasure and report on for The Millions. This year, however,

[Salon Books] Christian right’s rage problem: How white fundamentalists are roiling America
Over the past few years, America has been divided by religion.  The culture wars have heated up with secularists on one side and God-fearing Americans on the other, and to understate things: They disagree.  But does that mean we hate one another?  If the animosity is so intense, what kind of

[Bookslut] With and Against: Bad Feminism and Its Discontents
I have always hated Roxane Gay’s writing, though I often agree with her, sort of, inasmuch as that is possible. This is a dramatic way to start a review of one of her books -- especially because the book in...

[Bookslut] Citizen: Listening to Ferguson
I was on a plane over the Midwest when Darren Wilson was not charged for killing Mike Brown. Before the pilot said turn off your phones I asked J. to tell me what happened, so when we landed there...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Music's culture wars
Why do we keep having the same debates about pop songs?

[The Millions] RIP Mark Strand
In memory of Mark Strand, who passed away on Saturday, the Paris Review Daily published a manuscript page from “A Piece of the Storm,” a poem that appeared in Strand’s collection A Blizzard of One. They also included links to several poems of his they published, as well as his Art of

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Anthony Doerr
I staggered through some big, challenging books this year, but when The Millions asked for a single title, the first that came to mind was a little red confection called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, edited by Mason Currey. Daily Rituals describes how 161 painters, composers, novelists, and

[NYT] P.J. Harvey to Release a Book of Poetry
“The Hollow of the Hand,” with photographs by Seamus Murphy, is based on travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Centennial of Mexican Literary Legends: 2014 National Book Festival

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Still shocking
An even bigger deal than it seems

[The Millions] Glint of the Diamond
“Andre Dubus’s literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus of a character—he makes a reader want to keep going, because she knows exactly who these

[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 week’s blog. Here’s a roundup of your comments and photos from last week.Oranje14 expressed joy for Ali Smith’s writing in a rather cheerful way: Really enjoying The Accidental by Ali Smith. One of the

[Bookslut] An Interview with Viv Albertine
Before any movement hardens into history, there's a moment when the sacred flies are still wriggling in the mess that will eventually (too soon!) entomb them. It's a biblical moment -- a cacophonous Garden-of-Eden-time before a thing has a name....

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: We're poorer than our parents
Everyone in America would be better off if we soaked the rich

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Haley Mlotek (The Hairpin)
I’m suffering from that complete lack of perspective that afflicts us when we try and enforce a strict linear timeline on our lives; that is to say, to borrow a dumb driving metaphor, that objects in my figurative rearview mirror are closer than they appear, and the books I read at the beginning

[The Millions] Beyond Bookmarks: 10 Gifts For Readers
For the past three years, The Millions has offered a holiday gift list for writers. This year we’d like to give readers their due, with a list of bookish treats. Because where would writers be without readers? Also, let’s face it: discriminating and avid readers can be as difficult to shop for

[Guardian Books Blog] Baddies in books: Patrick Bateman, the all-American psycho
A monster in a designer suit, he is all the more shocking for having his villainy disguised in plain sightI’ve been a big Bret Easton Ellis fan since the release of his debut novel, Less Than Zero in 1985. Written in a semi-autobiographical style, and based on his own adventures at university, the

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Adler; Smith; Harris; Margolin; Hall; Mailer; Saramago
Out this week: The Wall by H.G. Adler; How to Be Both by Ali Smith; Screenplay by MacDonald Harris; Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin; Essays after Eighty by Donald Hall; Selected Letters by Norman Mailer; and Skylight by the late Nobel laureate José Saramago. For more on these and other

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Jess Walter
Sometimes choosing one or two books from a whole year is like trying to pick the best meal you ate — great bites keep coming to you (wait, what about that fig and pancetta pizza?) In 2014, I ate well: Jenny Offal’s Dept. of Speculation might have hit me the hardest; it’s airy, funny and

[Guardian Books Blog] Choose December’s Reading group: Noir Christmas
This month we’re after a hard-bitten great to get to grips with. Please help round up some likely suspectsThe month of May, as I’m sure you know, is merry. And this year, it was especially happy for the Reading group because we were looking at the great PG Wodehouse. It was joy and sunshine and

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The phantom menace of militant atheism
Is atheism a specifically Western phenomenon?

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Bookforum turns twenty (!)
Our new issue is out and, we submit, it’s kind of special. To celebrate our twentieth anniversary, we invited current and former contributors—including Geoff Dyer, Christian Lorentzen, Christine Smallwood, Lydia Davis, Luc Sante, J. Hoberman, Chris Kraus, and many others—to write about

[Guardian Books Blog] Why is American book publishing so white?
If squabbles over format, pricing and Amazon have led the US publishing industry to neglect an ever more diverse audience, we have forgotten why people read books in the first placeThe true price of publishingAt the recent National Book Awards ceremony in New York City, presenter and bestselling

[The Millions] Not a Title
In the first two lines of a piece in the latest New Yorker about the Alaskan poet Olena Kalytiak Davis, Dan Chiasson points out that her new book, The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems, has an undeniably excellent title. In describing her appeal, he says that her submissions to the canon are

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Karen Joy Fowler
I’ve been looking forward to the publication of Molly Gloss’s wonderful Falling From Horses ever since I read the galley some months back, and this month it has finally arrived. While I waited, I returned to some of Gloss’s earlier novels – The Dazzle of Day and Wild Life, in particular.

[Guardian Books Blog] A brief survey of the short story: Nikolai Leskov
Perennially falling into and out of fashion, he is a stunningly versatile writer and a very un-Russian Russian greatA brief survey of the short story: read more blogposts “I calculated once,” Vladimir Nabokov told an audience at Cornell University in the spring of 1958, “that the acknowledged

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Gabriella Coleman, Astra Taylor and Molly Crabapple on Anonymous

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Real and imagined
The dream that never was

[The Millions] Edan Lepucki Sells Her Second Novel
Congrats are in order for our own Edan Lepucki, who recently sold her second novel to Crown! Her new book, a “sly, sinister exploration of female relationships,” will come out in 2017. You could also read her and our own Bill Morris on writing their most recent novels.

[The Millions] Before They Were Notable: 2014
This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out. At 100 titles, the list is more of a catalog of the noteworthy than a distinction. Sticking with the fiction exclusively, it appears that we touched upon a few of these books and authors as well: All the Light We Cannot See by

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Gender self-determination
Forcing kids to stick to gender roles can actually be harmful to their health

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Isaac Fitzgerald
The Bone Clocks rolls up many novels in a glorious Katamari Damacy ball of a book (the multi-century epic battle between factions of immortal psychics totally out-Dan Browns Dan Brown and yes, you will love it). As you might expect from a David Mitchell novel, it’s big, ambitious, and pretty.

[The Millions] A Reader’s Book of Days: A Reading List for a Month of Storytelling by the Fire
Tom Nissley’s column A Reader’s Book of Days is adapted from his book of the same name. Did Dickens invent Christmas? It’s sometimes said he did, recreating the holiday as we know it out of the neglect that had been imposed on it by Puritanism, Utilitarianism, and the Scrooge-like forces of

[Book Forum] INTERVIEW: Bookforum talks with Meghan Daum
Meghan Daum published her first collection of essays, My Misspent Youth (2001), to wide praise, In the title essay, originally written for the New Yorker, Daum described living in Manhattan as a writer in her mid-twenties, She found it difficult to discern truth from fantasy in a city that lends

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Emily Gould
Because Ruth Curry and I are always looking for the next Emily Books pick, and are now reading unpublished manuscripts as well as published books in preparation for our plan to begin publishing a very select number of Emily Books originals, this Year in Reading was INTENSE for me.  I probably read

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Joel Johnson no longer Gawker’s editorial director…
At Page-Turner, Adelle Waldman reconsiders the traditional novel. It’s“fashionable” to think of it as over, or to suppose that memoir and autobiographical novels are the only way forward. But the form offers possibilities that nonfiction and autobiography do not. Among them, it allows the

[Guardian Books Blog] Readers' love letters to libraries
After leading authors showed their love for libraries in written and graphic form, it’s readers’ turn. From life-defining visits to treasured childhood memories, these are some of our favourite tributes Love letters to libraries: authors from AL Kennedy to Michael Morpurgo share their love for

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Animal studies
Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening

[The Millions] Whowasit
Haven’t read Agatha Christie? The Oyster Review will get you up to speed. Their latest Reader’s Guide, written by Lili Loofbourow, delves into the writer behind Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and countless other iconic characters. You could also read Daniel Friedman on the ending to every mystery

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Blake Butler
I had a dream I was locked in a cage earlier this year, a dream that went on for several years inside the sleep itself. In the dream, I was given no food or water, nor did I interact with any person or other sort of entity; the walls of the cage were flat and had no bars and no door for entry or

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Cory Doctorow at University Book Store

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Bubble up
Sane, happy, and willing to get out of bed in the morning

[NYT] A First Edition Auction, With the Writers Nervously Looking On
The evening sale's high price: Philip Roth's annotated first edition of "American Pastoral" sold for $80,000.

[The Millions] “Qualities other than introspection”
Recommended Reading: Adelle Waldman’s answer to the novel’s detractors. (FYI, she’s written for The Millions.)

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Rape culture on college campuses
Students need to see rape as a felony, not just a campus infraction

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Janet Fitch
For me the best, most moving, overwhelming novel of the year was Hungarian-American Les Plesko’s No Stopping Train. Lyrical in style, tough in mood, enigmatic and structured through series of interlocking love triangles, it spans the end of WWII to the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in

[NYT] Art From the Old School
A panel including Jules Feiffer and Art Spiegelman talks about art and aging.

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: John Darnielle
So, see here. You’ve offered me the chance to give one book a little extra shine by publishing my thoughts about it. It’s a basic building block of my character to want to big-up something that may’ve gotten less attention than I felt it deserved, and I also tend to reach for


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