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Top Book Blogs 04/2015

[Salon Books] “You guys are just scrambled eggs. You call yourselves professionals?”: Inside Andrew Cuomo’s presidential pipe dream
Michael Shnayerson had the misfortune of releasing his Andrew Cuomo biography, "The Contender," after Cuomo’s time has passed as a serious presidential contender. There was a time when Cuomo’s presidential stock was on the rise. In 2011-2012 he passed a landmark marriage equality bill, worked

[The Millions] Our Basest Instincts: On Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’
I was working at Brookline Booksmith in Boston when the allegations surfaced that James Frey had fabricated large sections of A Million Little Pieces. It was a fun week. Frey had done a reading at the store a few years earlier, and any staff that were there for it remembered him as a jerk. That,

[NYT] Marlon James Among Anisfield-Wolf Award Winners
The annual awards are given to books that deal with race and diversity.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Gay rights now
We need more gay sex on television

[The Millions] Happy Days
In the late fifties, an old flame of Samuel Beckett, Ethna MacCarthy, fell ill and died of throat cancer in Dublin. Around this time, female voices began to enter Beckett’s work, which up until that point had featured almost exclusively male characters. Was there a connection? In a review of a new

[Guardian Books Blog] Why crime fiction is leftwing and thrillers are rightwing
Today’s crime novels are overtly critical of the status quo, while the thriller explores the danger of the world turned upside down. And with trust in politicians nonexistent, writers are being listened to as rarely beforeI spent the weekend in Lyon, at a crime writing festival that feted writers

[Guardian Books Blog] Winnie-the-Pooh made new: who should write the next chapters?
Another sequel to AA Milne’s children’s classic has been approved. Time to consider the authors who should write it, says Alison FloodWe live deep in the Hundred Acre Wood in our house these days. My daughter is finally old enough to enjoy – to love, actually – AA Milne’s stories of Winnie

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Slavoj Zizek on Why You're Never Really Alone With Your Sexual Partner

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Following the advice
You can't quite prove

[The Millions] The Ness Files
It’s a catchy idea: two rich Philadelphians, shut out of their family fortune, decide to gain new wealth by proving the existence of the Loch Ness monster. It’s the plot of At the Water’s Edge, the new book by Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen. Robert J. Wiersema reviewed the book in The

[The Millions] Les Mosquees
Recommended Reading: Adam Shatz on Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Party in Iceland
Want to make games and pet lambs on a remote farm in Iceland?

[The Millions] No Talking
Writing a sci-fi novel? Need some quick ideas for your fictional hellscape? Then you need Randomized Dystopia, a tool which suggests basic liberties that your imaginary dictators can suppress.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: The Guardian’s six-month series on climate change
Alan Rusbridger will leave his position as the editor in chief of the Guardian this summer, but before he goes, he plans to run an “unprecedented,” six-month series of articles about climate change. Working with the environmental activist organization, Rusbridger will conclude with a

[Guardian Books Blog] James Herbert horror award chooses its first winner
Tom Hunter, chair of judges, explains why Nick Cutter’s book The Troop would have had the prize’s founding inspiration ‘chuckling in his chair’It’s been described as “old-school horror at its best” by no less than Stephen King. Now The Troop by Nick Cutter, a novel which centres on a

[The Millions] Unquote: The Benefits of Excising Quotation Marks
Quotation marks can be insidious little creatures. They have immense, unacknowledged power. They can turn a good idea into a “good idea.” With the simple addition of the those lines, something that would have been accepted for only its definition becomes suspect, questionable, even a

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The American Dream is unraveling
People's uncertainty about their personal futures are affecting our economic world in ways we don't entirely understand

[The Millions] The Naked Bookseller
Recommended reading, though perhaps not viewing: “On the strange, true tale of the naked bookseller.”

[The Millions] Perfectly Imperfect Proust
In a piece for the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes about a new life of C. K. Scott Moncrieff, the first translator of Proust into English, and about the strange success and beauty his imperfect translation of Remembrance of Things Past achieved. The essay as a whole pairs well with both our own

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Ilyasah Shabazz: 2014 National Book Festival

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Make way
Independent, curious, mature, driven and ready to change the world

[The Millions] Don’t Assume
“I asked myself – why don’t I state the race of my characters?  And am I doing something wrong by not explicitly including a diverse cast of characters?  Could I be doing something better? The short answer is yes.” An argument in favor of race bent fanfiction and resisting

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Seeing science
We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge — from climate change to vaccinations — faces furious opposition

[The Millions] On Judging
“Gobble a lot of fiction very quickly and you soon find yourself suffering from the literary equivalent of a food intolerance. Oh no, you think, not another novel about X or Y. At these moments, only one thing keeps you going: the faint hope that the book in question might turn out to be the

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Inattention Game
A philosopher-mechanic prefers tools to screens

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: BuzzFeed’s literary movement; George R. R. Martin tries to break the Internet
BuzzFeed is starting a fellowship for young writers. The site’s new literary editor, poet Saeed Jones, is also planning what he calls a whole “literary movement” that involves a magazine, readings, and a salon series. Jones says, “I think it’s fair to say there were a few skeptics

[Guardian Books Blog] Thrillers are politically conservative? That's not right
Val McDermid says that while crime fiction is naturally of the left, thrillers are on the side of the status quo. Jonathan Freedland votes against this readingQuickfire quiz. Identify the following as left or right. Big business? On the right, obviously. Trade unions? Left, of course. The one per

[The Millions] Difficult, Dated, Frustrating, Prophetic: Teaching Thomas Pynchon
1. In a 1978 debate with William Gass at the University of Cincinnati, John Gardner said the fiction of Anthony Trollope is rarely taught “because it’s all clear.” In contrast, “every line of Thomas Pynchon you can explain because nothing is clear.” The result: “the academy ends up

[Guardian Books Blog] Poster poems: Pathways
As the spring begins to beckon us outside, this month we’re on the trail of your metrical feetThe writer Robert MacFarlane has carved a trail in the minds of the book-reading public in recent years, with his books The Old Ways and Holloway. Among other things, MacFarlane talks a good deal about

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Of the American military
Some veterans wince at reflexive gratitude

[The Millions] Beautiful
From our own Michael Bourne comes a new short story, “Beautiful,” available from The Southampton Review.

[Guardian Books Blog] Jane Austen invented #RealisticYA fiction
The Twitter trend for very ordinary retellings of fantastic stories revives a style that dates back to Northanger AbbeyJane Austen would have been very proud of young adult fiction readers this week. Using the #RealisticYA and #VeryRealisticYA hashtags, many have been lining up to puncture the

[The Millions] Marlon James Interviewed
“There used to be a time when people read literature to confront stuff. To experience things vicariously—whether it’s a forbidden scene or a forbidden idea. I think now we’re looking to literature for an escape from that. I’m not sure why that is.” Guernica interviews Marlon

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Prof Robert D. Putnam - The Opportunity Gap Explained

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: That might be
People react exactly as you'd expect

[The Millions] The Book Report: Episode 15: ‘Delicious Foods’ by James Hannaham
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike discuss yet another brilliant, depressing book. Would it kill them to do an episode about, say, a Dave Barry book? One where he talks about aging, and maybe how politicians are sometimes bad at

[Bookslut] A Miniature Model of Modernity: Suite for Barbara Loden
"It seemed simple enough," writes French author Nathalie Léger in the opening of her extraordinary new book Suite for Barbara Loden -- and the reader immediately knows, whatever it will be, it won't be simple -- "all I had...

[Bookslut] An Exaggerated Murder: A Novel by Josh Cook
cook josh exaggerated murder

[The Millions] A Literary BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed is launching an Emerging Writer’s Fellowship, complete with $12,000 stipend, and Saeed Jones, whose poetry collection Prelude to Bruise was released last year, will be their new Literary Editor. Electric Literature talked to Jones about digital journalism, the need for diversity in

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Welcome to global warming's terrifying new era
Climate change is nothing to worry about — at least, if you're happy to ignore what we know about physics

[NYT] Alabama Officials Find Harper Lee in Control of Decision to Publish Second Novel
Alabama officials have closed an investigation into a complaint that Harper Lee may have not capable of authorizing the publication of her second novel, set to be released in July.

[The Millions] “Alayne”
Tired of waiting for The Winds of Winter, the latest installment in George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire? The author has posted an excerpt on his website, as a reward for your continued patience.

[NYT] Book Review Podcast: ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’
Brad Stone discusses a new biography of Steve Jobs, and Amanda Schaffer discusses three new books about neuroscience.

[Salon Books] Francesca Lia Block says Weetzie Bat is not a manic pixie dream girl: “I don’t love what I’ve seen of that”
When I was 14, I encountered a fictional character that changed my life. She was a magical 16-year-old who named her clothes, worshiped rock music, and loved the world so openly that when the darkness came, it consumed her. Her name was Weetzie Bat and I became obsessed with her. “Weetzie Bat,”

[Bookslut] Well Fed, Flat Broke
I had a baby girl in January, and in the lead up to her birth, I often thought of cramming the freezer with ready-to-eat meals. I half-heartedly followed through, mostly freezing leftovers that I might have otherwise accidentally left languishing...

[Bookslut] Hole's Live Through This by Anwen Crawford
crawford anwen hole's live through this

[Salon Books] How the 1 percent always wins: “We live in a faux democracy, which is why everyone’s so cynical and nobody votes”
Why aren’t we getting angry about the steady shifting of treasure from the middle class to the very richest? Why haven’t the few who are vocal and visibly frustrated coalesced into a real movement? Has there ever been a time when Americans made noise about this kind of thing? These questions are

[Bookslut] I Am Not What I Am: On Pilate's Wife by H.D.
H.D., which was the handle of Hilda Doolittle from Pennsylvania, belonged to that miraculous generation of modernist English-language poets who unleashed the power of the language, previously submerged under so much rum-tee-tum meter and rhymes that chimed saccharinely like a...

[The Millions] A Japanese Country Doctor
Recommended viewing: Kafka‘s “A Country Doctor” translated into Japanese animation.

[Bookslut] Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky, translated by Alfred MacAdam
jodorowsky alejandro where the bird sings best

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