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Top Book Blogs 07/2015

[The Millions] The Manliness of Joan Didion
First, a parable for manliness in the 21st century: Throughout graduate school, I’ve made ends meet by clearing land on a ranch owned by an acquaintance. Not long ago, my daughter, who is four, came to work with me. My wife, who stayed home, sent her off in boots and a cowgirl hat over a pair of

[Salon Books] “The erotics of books are alive and well”: Jonathan Galassi on his new novel — plus, Jennifer Weiner and why Jonathan Franzen is a feminist
You don’t have to work in publishing to enjoy Jonathan Galassi’s debut novel, Muse, a story that draws a lot from the writer’s own experience. Galassi is the publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and the author of three poetry collections. In his time at FSG, he has ushered some of the most

[Guardian Books Blog] #BeingFemaleInNigeria: book club ignite everyday sexism debate
Nigeria’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 58-page feminist pamphlet provided the inspiration for a nationwide women’s rights debate. Brittle Paper report Inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feminist pamphlet, a small Abuja-based book club have ignited nationwide conversation about everday

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Workers need more bargaining power
We can hold American companies that use sweatshop labor accountable

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: David Foster Wallace; Arianna Huffington
‘‘I think let’s start iterating,’’ Arianna Huffington says. ‘‘Let’s not wait for the perfect product.’’ At the New York Times magazine, a look inside how the Huffington Post is run: “It’s as though Huffington is spreading an illness while simultaneously peddling the cure.

[The Millions] All That
Last week, I pointed readers to a speech by the late James Salter, reprinted by The Paris Review Daily in tribute to the writer after his death. For a fan appreciation, you can read Kevin Lincoln in Hazlitt, who leads his piece with the observation that Salter “wrote sentences you could unfold

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Don't get complacent
Is there nothing we can agree on?

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Shaun Usher: "Letters of Note" | Talks at Google

[The Millions] Press Start
Readers of the 1960s and 70s ran into many people who worried that writers were learning from television. In 2015, the concern is slightly different — are writers taking cues from video games? At the Ploughshares blog, Matthew Burnside tackles the game-ification of books.

[NYT] ‘Absolute Transmetropolitan’ and ‘Melody': A Squalid City and a Stripper Memoir
Two new reprint collections, “Absolute Transmetropolitan: Volume 1” and “Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer,” take on social injustice.

[The Millions] Gently Simmer
Recommended Reading: Audrey Hepburn’s son on his new book about his mother’s recipes.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The very different worldviews of left and right
Intra-party philosophical differences in a polarized political system

[The Millions] The Crowning
After his death, fans of David Foster Wallace canonized him as a prophet, according him a degree of benevolence shared by almost no one in American letters. In New York Magazine, Christian Lorentzen argues that Wallace himself worried about this happening, and says he’d “probably be the last

[The Millions] Let Us Now Be Grateful That They’re (Finally!) (Honestly!) (Really Really Really!) Dead
You never forget your first time. My first Grateful Dead concert took place on May 15, 1970 at the Fillmore East in New York City. I was a high school senior and my older brother let me tag along with him and a bunch of his long-hair college buddies down from Vermont. The New Riders of the Purple

[Guardian Books Blog] Non-fiction publishing in the UK is in fine health, actually
Contrary to Sam Leith’s complaints last week, commercial publishers continue to take risks, and put out great and original workIn his article last week, Sam Leith deplored the state of mainstream trade publishing, saying it was “getting dumber by the day”, in contrast to the university presses

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Immigration activism in the United States
Republicans fear-mongering over ISIS and Mexico are silent on Canadian border

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Publishers Weekly tells Bill O’Reilly not to be sad
Publishers Weekly gently addresses Bill O’Reilly’s distress over their failure to include his book Killing Reagan in their latest “announcement issue,” which provides librarians and booksellers with a list of the upcoming season’s significant books. The political journalist Leslie Gelb has

[The Millions] Infographic: Summer Reads
This week in book-related infographics: Electric Literature has recommendations for summer reading, organized by location and required concentration level. Going to Italy? Try A Room with a View. Craving a tropical get-away? Read The Beach, obviously.

[Salon Books] Scientology leader’s father penning tell-all memoir
Ronald Miscavige Sr., father of embattled Scientology head honcho David Miscavige, is writing a memoir titled “If He Dies, He Dies,” according to noted Scientology reporter Tony Ortega and confirmed with the book's publisher by The Hollywood Reporter.The title refers to an April L.A. Times

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Things that measure
As well-intentioned as it is poorly executed

[The Millions] The Best Friend There Is: Keeping Time with Brazenhead Books
Author Elliott Holt reads from a first edition at Brazenhead Books. In New York City during late May of 2015, the Rangers professional hockey squad fell just short of the finals, while the Yankees and Mets approached the halfway marker of their seasons clinging to competitive success on the baseball

[The Millions] A New Kind of Book Review
A new kind of book review: 5 artists interpret and critique literature through works of visual art.

[Guardian Books Blog] Books about Las Vegas: readers' picks
Winning in Las Vegas makes a good story, but losing sometimes makes an even better one. Here are our readers’ favourite books about Sin CityMaile Chapman introduces the literature of Las Vegas“Half-meritocracy and half crap-shoot, Las Vegas is [...] the only city in America where the odds

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The world's spiralling levels of inequality
How much money the super rich make in 25 different countries around the world

[The Millions] Choosing Covers
It’s not often that a major publisher listens to a new author when they request a specific painting be used for their book cover. But they listened to Naomi Jackson, and over at the Literary Hub she explains her choice of cover art for Star Side of Bird Hill and the Caribbean significance

[Salon Books] “You have to look at food as medicine. Clean eating can become a lifestyle that’s easy to follow”: Candice Kumai on secrets of happiness and health
My mom is Japanese, and my father is Polish-American, so she was really adamant about putting greens and produce and fresh vegetables on the table first, and then she tried to incorporate Americanized treats in there. So we had Oreos, Fruit by the Foot, CapriSun and Lucky Charms like any other

[Guardian Books Blog] Poster poems: ruins
Symbols of endurance as much as transience, these remnants of another age open on to a great variety of themes. Please share what you can build from the shards of historyAs the latest Greek drama has unfolded night after night on our TV screens, it has been interesting to see broadcasters using

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: More questions about lost-and-found Harper Lee novel
As HarperCollins prepare to publish the most pre-ordered book in their history, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the plot thickens in terms of just when and how the lost-and-found novel came to light—it was apparently several years earlier than Lee’s lawyer, Tonja Carter, had announced to

[Guardian Books Blog] The Desmond Elliott prize reminds us that authors need long-term support
With her prizewinning debut, Claire Fuller could be following in the footsteps of Ian Rankin and Hilary Mantel who found success with their later work – but only with the support of her publisherAs one of the judges for the Desmond Elliott prize for best debut novelist this year, I couldn’t help

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The most lethal terrorist organization in the world
What should we do if the Islamic State wins?

[Guardian Books Blog] Falling under the spell of fairytales and myths
From folk tales to Greek myth, ‘old stories’ are fuelling a fantasy boom. In a recent discussion chaired by Marina Warner at the Royal Society of Literature, four authors explored the reasons whyA week after Midsummer night, the Royal Society of Literature brought together four writers for an

[Salon Books] His racist colleagues were as dangerous as the criminals: Meet New York’s first black police officer
On December 27, 1911, Samuel Battle rose from probationary recruit to full-fledged police officer. The newspapers took stock of the historic event, with the Times reporting: “Six months ago men thought that Battle would be hazed into resigning, or at least into asking for transfer. Now they know

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Peter Carey | Jan 22 2015 | Appel

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Piece of work
Tame compared with what they've seen

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The Declaration's dual traditions
Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy?

[Salon Books] “Why grow up?” is a political question: Our cult of youth is no accident — and it has dire consequences
Whether you look at superhero-besotted Hollywood, the clothes alleged grownups wear in public, or the spread of video games out of the suburban family room, it’s hard to miss noticing that much of contemporary culture is caught in childhood.Susan Neiman, an American philosopher who lives in Berlin

[Salon Books] “Oh, girl, get up. You got this”: Why the “strong black woman” stereotype is an albatross
In the summer 2014 issue of Bitch magazine, I wrote about a stereotype that both buoys and burdens black women. With shades of Sapphire’s hardness, the myth embodies the idea of African American women as perpetually tough and uniquely indestructible.Strong. Black. Woman.The words fit together like

[Salon Books] America’s July 4 military nightmare: With our recent history, could we even beat the British today?
At 9:44 p.m. on July 27, 1953, Private First Class Harold B. Smith had just sixteen more minutes of the Korean War to survive before the cease-fire came into effect at 10:00 p.m. You can imagine this twenty-one-year old marine from Illinois, out on combat patrol that evening, looking at his watch.

[Salon Books] “I won’t see the end of the year”: Backstage at Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s final shows
Three songs into the show, the house lights still on, the time had come for “Dire Wolf,” but with a perverse twist no one had anticipated. Twenty-five years had passed since the Dead had recorded that song at Pacific High studio. They’d played it innumerable times since, occasionally slowing

[Salon Books] I was a fallible patriot: I served during Iraq, and so wanted to believe and strike first
Twelve years ago I supervised the launch of four U.S. Air Force tankers into the late afternoon sky from a base 30 miles north of Cambridge, England. Then night came, and somewhere in that darkness, thousands of miles away, our tankers refueled the bombers that would push into Iraqi airspace and

[Salon Books] Our Founders, alien-obsessed: Adams and Franklin had a thing — really! — for extraterrestials
On this 4th of July, when the smoke from the last of the fireworks drifts away and you can once again see the starry sky above, it may be worth reflecting on the fact that America’s founders were pretty sure that those stars were home to an immense population of space aliens.Benjamin Franklin

[Salon Books] We pledge allegiance to the United States of Inc.: Corporations become nation-states in Silicon Valley’s latest utopian management scheme
During my desultory post-graduation years in San Francisco, I lived in a big duplex with three roommates. We had bands, fledging writing gigs and other financially unpromising passions, until one of us threw over la vie bohème to work at a consulting firm. We teased him mercilessly for using

[Salon Books] Twenty-one was “the perfect wolf”: He was a legend — he never lost a fight, and he never killed a vanquished rival
“Why doesn’t Batman just kill the Joker?” Without looking at me, Rick McIntyre quizzes me like a Zen master during one of the strangest conversations I’ve ever had. He’s trying to lead me into a realization about the roots of mercy by talking about superheroes as we’re looking through

[Salon Books] The cult of my childhood: Across three continents, life was a whirlwind of uncertainty
The cult of my childhood, the Children of God, an apocalyptic, isolationist movement, began in California amid the hippie “free love” era of the '60s and '70s, and soon spread across the globe, with communes in up to a hundred countries at any given time.When most people think of cults and

[Salon Books] “My model for business is the Beatles”: Why Steve Jobs was no lone hero
Apple’s ComebackOne of the greatest examples in business history of a large organization’s maneuverability took place right before our eyes: Apple Inc. In September 2002, Apple’s future was thought to be so bleak you could buy shares in Apple Computer at a price that valued its operating

[The Millions] Too Dark for TV
“This is a huge generalization, but [American novels] have tended not to have all the elements that make it good for television, whether it’s too interior or there’s not enough action. The Brits tended to write more colorful stories rather than the darkness and struggle. Dickens and

[Salon Books] “You want me to take f**king out of the Scrabble dictionary?”
In the early 1990s, two women were playing Scrabble in suburban Washington, D.C. At one point in the game, a word was challenged. The players decided to settle the dispute by checking the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Second Edition. However, in skimming the pages, the women stumbled across

[The Millions] “I’ll Read Anything”
“If the sentences are meticulously made, I’ll read anything, whether it’s as destabilizing as a Gary Lutz short story or as melancholy as a Chris Ware comic. The only books I give up on are texts where the writer’s attention is concentrated so heavily on narrative questions that his or

[Salon Books] “I am Miley’s mother. I am her lover. I am her critic. I am a mixed-up hormonal monster”
1990 Dear Madonna, I will fuck you if you want. Love, Phyllis 2014 At least once a week, my husband will turn on the car and Air Supply, Whitney Houston, Peter Cetera, or Mariah Carey will pour out of the speakers. There is only one person in the house to blame. Lite FM? Really? Really, my love.

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Soul-Mate Shuffle
A comedian and a sociologist set out to make sense of modern love.


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