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Top Book Blogs 02/2015

[Salon Books] “There is no cure for trauma. Once it enters the body, it stays there forever”
We are born in debt, owing the world a death. This is the shadow that darkens every cradle. Trauma is what happens when you catch a surprise glimpse of that darkness, the coming annihilation not only of the body and the mind but also, seemingly, of the world. Trauma is the savagery of the universe

[Bookslut] An Interview with John Byrne Cooke
At Powell's Books in Portland in early November, I had the good fortune to hear John Byrne Cooke read from his book On the Road with Janis Joplin, and later we discussed his years with Janis, when he was her...

[The Millions] How To: Write Difference
“Writing difference is a challenge, particularly in fiction. How do men write women and vice versa? How do writers of one race or ethnicity write about people of another race or ethnicity? More important, how do writers tackle difference without reducing their characters to caricatures or

[Bookslut] Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson
johnson jeremy robert skullcrack city

[Bookslut] Kinder than Solitude by Yiyun Li
li yiyun kinder than solitude

[Bookslut] Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link
link kelly get in trouble

[Bookslut] The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
mccloud scott sculptor the

[Salon Books] Football: An American tragedy
No aspect of players’ football lives is more debilitating, controversial, or paradoxical than injuries and their consequences. The media strike a frightening chorus: “The NFL is killing its players and the league doesn’t care.” “Most pro football players face a future of disability and

[The Millions] Keeping it Fresh
How does a writer keep their work fresh? What’s the goal of a successful artist? What is it like to adapt someone else’s writing for the screen? The Atlantic interviews Nick Hornby about his latest book, Funny Girl, and these are some of the questions that come up. Pair with this

[Salon Books] The dirty truth about Doritos: What you’re really eating on Super Bowl Sunday
Whole CornThe word “doritos” is supposedly pidgin Spanish for “little bits of gold.” The main ingredient in these bits of gold is heated and steeped in an alkaline solution, usually lye or lime. This frees up the corn’s niacin and restructures some of its amino acids, leading to better

[Bookslut] Wasp Box by Jason Ockert
ockert jason wasp box

[Bookslut] Resistance to Change in Redemption in Indigo
Since finishing Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord's 2010 novel, I've been thinking about the morality of change, of redemptions and downfalls. Change in general is morally ambiguous, shaded by our dreams for ourselves and the world. When trapped, we are...

[Bookslut] Happy Are the Happy by Yasmina Reza, translated by John Cullen
reza yasmina happy are the happy

[Salon Books] Why smoking pot feels so good: New neuroscience explains marijuana and the brain
What drug is enjoyable and, under some circumstances, might actually be good for your brain? Can smoking this substance prevent age-related memory loss, for example? To answer these and similar questions, I turn now to a neurotransmit­ter system in the brain that was discovered through the use

[Bookslut] Ground Zero, Nagasaki: Stories by Seirai Yuichi, translated by Paul Warham
yuichi seirai ground zero nagasaki

[The Millions] Obama on ‘Redeployment’
Recommended recommendations: President Obama recommends Year in Reading alum and National Book Award Winner Phil Klay‘s Redeployment.

[Salon Books] Divine genius does not exist: Hard work, not magical inspiration, is essence of creativity
In 1815, Germany’s General Music Journal published a letter in which Mozart described his creative process:When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer; say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Feb/Mar 2015

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Planet of the Apes
A new essentialist effort to explain male aggression comes up short

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Mother Country
Alexandra Fuller's new memoir plumbs the traumas of middle-age single parenthood.

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Resentments of Things Past
The art of not letting go.

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Savage Detective
Alejandro Zambra's tales of love and anhedonia in post-dictatorship Chile

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: The Future of an Illusion
A triumphalist history of psychiatry seeks to vindicate the profession

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: The Protesting Ethic
What are the reasons for declining revolutionary zeal?

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: To Give and Deceive
A philosopher's memoiristic study of deception is less than honest

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Poor Boy
How English singer-songwriter Nick Drake became a depressives' pinup

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Against the Country by Ben Metcalf
Perhaps you have wondered (and who hasn't?) what sort of memoir Bob Ewell, redneck villain of To Kill a Mockingbird, might have written about his life of attempted child-murder and successful child-beating, drunkenness, perjury, and poaching after a long course of education in Juvenalian satire and

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Covering Guantanamo Diary
Christian Lorentzen reviews Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary, “a relentless catalogue of grotesque abuses.” Mark Danner covers the heavily redacted book for the New York Times. The Intercept provides some information about how the book got published. Frances McDormand, who recently

[The Millions] Gone in Thirty Seconds: On Michael J. Arlen’s Advertising Drama
DVR and subscription services have somewhat emancipated TV viewers from the tyranny of the 30-second ad, though once a year viewers willingly embrace our bondage during the Super Bowl, last weekend’s Carnivalesque ritual in which trips to the bathroom were timed to avoid commercial breaks. Whether

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Implications of surveillance
What Snowden has taught us about the legal infrastructure of the surveillance state

[Bookslut] Reading Yellow
I organize my books by color right now, because it’s how my brain is working. It’s how it’s remembering titles and keeping calm to write, and hopefully, sometimes, finishing writing. In other rooms I ask my brain to connect...

[Bookslut] Through the Woods
I'm in a terrible mood. I've been wrecked for meaning, for reality. I have no patience, no goodness to spare. What did it to me I don't know. Or I might be unwilling to tell. Either way, I'm sitting here...

[Bookslut] Havel: A Life by Michael Zantovsky
zantovsky michael havel

[Bookslut] "No Normal" Indeed: Ms. Marvel's New Female Readership
Just three pages into G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona's newly rebooted Ms. Marvel series, we learn that our heroine, Kamala Khan, is an obsessive author of Avengers fan fiction. Kamala's "sad nerd obsession," as her friend puts it, is...

[The Millions] Building Up
It’s fitting that Ray Bradbury credited his interest in architecture to an H.G. Wells story he read when he was five. At The Paris Review Daily, a previously unpublished essay by the author, who says his career in architecture started when he noticed there was no plaque at the residence of

[Bookslut] An Interview with Laura Kipnis
Operators, scumbags, con men, trespassers, juicers, neurotics, victims, lotharios, humiliation artists, manly men, sex fiends, gropers, cheaters, self-deceivers, haters, critics, men who hate Hillary, and women who hate men -- Laura Kipnis, author of the essay collection Men: Notes from...

[Bookslut] "The Rosy Clouds Assumed the Annoying Shapes of Angels and Altars": The Visions of Silvina Ocampo
Silvina Ocampo, born in 1903, walked the same Argentine streets as Jorge Luis Borges, although she saw them differently. Borges, if you were to ask him, consulting his preface to Thus Were Their Faces, the new collection of Ocampo's...

[Guardian Books Blog] The book that judges you by your cover
Take a (careful) look at the facial-recognition book cover that won’t open if you’re sporting a judgmental expressionWe all know not to judge books by their covers, don’t we? After all, just look what happened to poor old The Bell Jar a few years back (although I love these dumbed-down

[Guardian Books Blog] Roald Dahl becomes sage of US measles outbreak
Open letter written by author of Matilda and BFG after death of his seven-year-old daughter urged parents to immunise their childrenIn the context of the US measles epidemic, it might not be in the best possible taste to report that Roald Dahl went viral over the weekend. But that’s what happened

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: What lies ahead
It may not happen today, or tomorrow

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Shari Goldhagen & Michelle Herman | In Some Other World, Maybe

[The Millions] Honey, Would You Read My Book?
Honey, would you read my book? More dangerous words have never been spoken. The request sounds innocent enough. But the transaction it initiates is fraught with expectation and fear, hope and anxiety. If it goes well, the gesture adds a deeper layer to an already intimate connection between writer

[The Millions] All in Our Heads
Ever since the advent of modern neuroscience, the language of the brain scientist has entered our common vocabulary. Words and phrases like “synapse,” “chemical imbalance” and “hardwired” point to its relevance in contemporary culture. At Page-Turner, a look at

[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 themRead more Tips, links and suggestions blogsWelcome to this week’s blog. Here’s a roundup of your comments and photos from last week.Vogelmonade reflected on a discussion initiated recently by AggieH:Which verb should be

[Guardian Books Blog] Most disturbing children's poetry: share your examples
A selection of children’s poems has gone gone viral on Twitter after they were published in The Los Angeles Times. Is your child the next Sylvia Plath - or more of a McGonnagall? Share their poems with us in the comments, or on Twitter @GuardianBooksGoodbye to innocence? Comedian Shelby Fero,

[NYT] Kwame Alexander and Dan Santat Win Children’s Book Prizes
Kwame Alexander’s novel “The Crossover” won the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature; Dan Santat’s “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book.

[The Millions] Wetlands
Recommended Reading: Blake Morrison on the literature of England’s flood-prone east coast.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: A sine qua non of science
Scientists prize elegant theories, but a taste for simplicity is a treacherous guide

[The Millions] The Truth Is Here
Here’s a piece of news you likely didn’t see coming: David Duchovny has published a novel. Titled Holy Cow, it deals, in the words of interviewer Taffy Brodesser-Akner, with “a traumatized cow, a sassy turkey and a pig converting to Judaism.” She talks with the X-Files star

[Salon Books] The stubborn myth of the Christian country: Why the U.S. has always been “one nation, under gods”
As Peter Manseau, author of "One Nation, Under Gods: A New American History," would have it, nothing has done more damage to the ideal of American religious pluralism than the "stubborn persistence of words spoken more than a century before the United States was a nation at all." Those words are "a

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