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Top Book Blogs 08/2015

[The Millions] Graffiti Lit
When street art and literature combine: on “The Moving, Playful Poetry of the World’s Textual Graffiti Artists,” from Slate.

[NYT] Eric Schlosser to Publish Book on American Prison System
Eric Schlosser, who wrote "Fast Food Nation," will explore how rising incarceration rates are intertwined with social factors like growing inequality.

[The Millions] A Community of Introverts
“What I want to know is, since when does making art require participation in any community, beyond the intense participation that the art itself is undertaking? Since when am I not contributing to the community if all I want to do is make the art itself?” Meghan Tifft gives voice to

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: An account of Kathy Acker’s final days
Etger Keret’s new book, The Seven Good Years, is a collection of personal essays about life in Israel, but there are currently no plans to publish it in Hebrew, or in his home country. Keret—whose previous work has consisted mostly of short, whimsical, and surreal fiction—recently told the

[The Millions] The Dark Background of the Bright Tapestry: On Shirley Jackson’s ‘Let Me Tell You’
Shirley Jackson’s house in North Bennington, Vt., unlike the nearby Robert Frost Stone House, has not been made into a museum. There isn’t even a sign that says that Shirley Jackson used to live there. It stands magisterially, with its four columns, up the knoll on Prospect Street. But if you

[Guardian Books Blog] Journeys in literature: Moon Country by Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell
Two poets’ travels in Iceland, through its ancient sagas as well as its contemporary landscape, cast a disorienting but compelling spell I’m lucky enough to travel for work, to a jumble of far and not-so-far-flung places. When I’m back at home for any length of time, however, I start to get an

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Political contestation over climate change
Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in

[The Millions] Moment Four
Who better to review a new sci-fi book than Ursula Le Guin? The Guardian editors couldn’t think of a better candidate either. She reviewed the new story collection Three Moments of an Explosion by the English writer China Miéville. Sample quote: “Pastiche, when present, is so skilful that it

[Guardian Books Blog] Six of the best: Not the Booker prize shortlist revealed
The votes have all been counted … and my head hurts. Now I hope you’ll join me in reading your chosen six – and perhaps become one of our chosen three (judges)There were just under 1,000 votes for this year’s Not the Booker prize shortlist. On the one hand, that’s astonishing, amazing,

[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 themAre you on Instagram? Then you can take part by tagging your books-related posts with #GuardianBooksScroll down for our favourite literary linksRead more Tips, links and suggestions blogsWelcome to this week’s blog. Here’s

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Wrap up
Who do you think you are?

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Lee Mokobe: A powerful poem about what it feels like to be transgender

[The Millions] Their Own Room
Were you aware there’s a new BBC2 show about the lives of the Bloomsbury Group? There is, and it’s called Life in Squares, a reference to a quote that says the group “lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.” In The New Statesman, Rachel Cooke sits down with the series.

[The Millions] Payday
Recommended Reading: Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin on writing for free (or not).

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Gender discrimination in Hollywood
Why are there are so few female directors working in Hollywood?

[The Millions] Teachable Moments
Lots of writers have stories about creative writing classes that changed their lives. The remembrance of the pivotal class is a mini-genre in itself. At The Rumpus, Warren Adler writes about his own life-changing experience, looking back on a class he took at the New School all the way back in 1949.

[The Millions] A Bit Rusty
Most of our discussions about changing the canon revolve around adding onetime marginalized writers. But there’s a flipside to this — who do we need to eject? In a Bookends column for the Times, James Parker and Francine Prose picks greats that are no longer great.

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Ghosh; Murakami; Hoffman; Jackson; Miéville; Brelinski; Crucet; Celt
Out this week: Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh; Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami; The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman; Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson; Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville; The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski; Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jeanine

[The Millions] The Long, Lonely Walk: Hallways in Horror Films
“The hallway is my sleep,” writes poet Rafael Campo. Hallways are simultaneously prosaic and oneiric. Hallways are all about perspective. Jean-Paul Sartre thought modern existence contained a “labyrinth of hallways, doors, and stairways that lead nowhere.” We believe — structurally,

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Rolling Stone’s “conscious uncoupling”
Jason Fine, the current editor of Men’s Journal, will be the new managing editor of Rolling Stone, taking over from Will Dana, with whom publisher Jann Wenner says he has had “a conscious uncoupling” after the magazine’s difficulties over its retracted UVA article. The once-scrappy Charlie

[Guardian Books Blog] Journeys in literature: The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane
Country walks will never be the same again after an encounter with this eye-opening masterpiece of seeing and imaginingIf this is an obvious choice for a summer read, I make no apologies. It may inspire you to abandon the beach, if you haven’t already read it. If you are still lying on the sand,

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Everything in the music industry
What are people with large MP3 libraries to do?

[The Millions] Body Works
Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel includes, among other discomfiting things, a series of fake advertisements for surreal women’s beauty products. The plot, which follows a proofreader named A, begins with the main character’s attempt to evade her roommate, and eventually brings A to join a

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Ken Kalfus & Lorin Stein | Coup de Foudre

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Awash in intrigue
As illuminating as the purportedly real news

[The Millions] Car Crush: Why American Writers and Artists Can’t Stop Loving the Automobile
Two debut novels – one freshly published, the other on its way to becoming a classic – have reminded me that for the past century American writers and artists have been obsessed with that shimmering, sexy, liberating, lethal contraption known as the automobile.  Small wonder.  Is there a more

[The Millions] Hard Mode
Serious reading is harder than ever. With so many distractions around, it’s incredibly difficult for a novel to keep our attention. In The Nation, Joanna Scott makes a case that careful reading is in danger, and builds a case for preserving difficult fiction. You could also read our own Nick

[The Millions] Maman Called Today
“If to live is to suffer, and surviving is to find meaning in the suffering, does this explain why I have to spend precious time and money at work happy hours?” Existentialism for Millennials.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The state of international studies
Why feminism is the most convincing theory in international relations

[Guardian Books Blog] Harper Lee readers demanding refunds were expecting far too much from Go Set a Watchman
The book was always doomed to be a disappointment both for those caught up in the hype and for fans of To Kill a MockingbirdIt’s been a little under a year since I first dove into the ocean that is reporting on Nelle Harper Lee’s current situation and frankly I still feel like I’m trying to

[Book Forum] POV: Will the Real American Psycho Please Stand Up: Why Donald Trump Was Patrick Bateman’s Hero
Recently, I had cause to reread Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 bestseller American Psycho. A lot has been said about this controversial comic novel’s violence, but I think it’s best classified with social satire like Vile Bodies or Speedboat (just with, you know, a homicidal narrator). And as it

[The Millions] ‘I Wouldn’tve Had a Biography at All': The Millions Interviews Hanya Yanagihara
In February, an editor asked me if I’d be willing to read a weighty, new book and review it, since she’d been hearing murmurs that not only was it an incredible read, but that it was also going to be one of the “big deal” books of the year. My editor was right. Recently, A Little Life, by

[Guardian Books Blog] Journeys in literature: The Voyage of QV66 by Penelope Lively
A children’s book that makes no concessions to younger readers, this superlative animal adventure leads you on an unforgettable tripWith a dependable, rough-coated narrator, a climate-changed world and a band of pilgrims varied enough to rival Chaucer’s Canterburians, Penelope Lively’s

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Writing while female; being doxxed while Donald Trump
The historian Robert Conquest has died. Best known for his work on Stalin’s purges, he was also a Movement poet who edited sci-fi anthologies and collaborated on a novel with his friend Kingsley Amis—and apparently now and then got credit for one of Amis’s “jokes.” The political cartoonist

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: To be a kid in America
Is TV for toddlers really that bad?

[The Millions] Zen and the Art of Failing at the Tour de France
What if the Tour de France nearly ground to a halt due to fiction? Imagine the best bikers in the world reading themselves into injury. At The Morning News, our own Matt Seidel imagines the chaos, making clear what happens when professional athletes meet page-turners. You could also read Matt’s

[Book Forum] VIDEO: 2015 PEN World Voices Festival: The Art of Mentorship with Julia Leigh

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Forget everything else
That's not how the world works

[The Millions] The Man Behind the Soapbox: On Barton Swaim’s ‘The Speechwriter’
Talk is cheap; speech is luxe. Speech is sheltered by sacred authorities, like the United States Constitution and Justice John G. Roberts. Speech comes with the sexy modifiers, like “hate” and “free.” You can never have too much of it, since as Louis Brandeis said, the remedy for bad speech

[The Millions] Comic Fans
When Adrienne Raphel got to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she found a group of writers as addicted to fonts as she was. Over time, a “font subculture” developed among the poets, who settled on particular fonts as their signatures, at least for a while. At The Paris Review Daily, she writes

[The Millions] Slave Driver
Recommended Reading: Katherine Sunderland on Michael Bundock’s The Fortunes of Francis Barber.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Northeast Asia's shared destiny
The Korea conundrum and Chinese soft power

[The Millions] All Told
You might have heard that a new Shirley Jackson book appeared on shelves this week. A collection of previously unpublished work, Let Me Tell You was published by Penguin Random House, which happens to be the place where Benjamin Dreyer, a lifelong Shirley Jackson fan, works as a copy chief and

[The Millions] Beyond the Bird: A Definitive List of the Artworks in ‘The Goldfinch’
Carel Fabritius’ The Goldfinch, a priceless piece of art has found more fame since the publication of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. The actual piece of art The Goldfinch eclipses the other artworks mentioned in the novel, but Tartt’s novel is not just about Fabritius’

[Guardian Books Blog] Gerald Brenan’s Personal Record 1920-1972 - battles with nature and invisibility
A bookish young man’s solitary journey to Andalucia – to devote himself to reading – inspired me to make my own literary escapeI first read Gerald Brenan’s Personal Record 1920-1972, the second volume of his autobiography, more than 30 years ago when I was in limbo, unhappily working as an

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The Voting Rights Act is on trial
Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Guardian digs out more detail on Chicago detention center
Thanks to a lawsuit by the Guardian, more information has now emerged about the “off-the-books interrogation compound” in Chicago’s Homan Square—we now know that more than 3,500 people have been detained there, “82% of whom a Guardian independent investigation found to be black,” and

[Guardian Books Blog] Seeing stars: writers should not fear online reviews
Will social media and aggregated preferences sweep away book reviewing and literary culture? There’s nothing new about the death of literatureThe writer Caleb Crain is unhappy about “the intrusion of counting into the life of literature”. He believes that big data and predictive-taste

[The Millions] (Un)Required Reading
“What made The Great Gatsby so great? Does everyone think he’s that great? Why?” Just in time for the back-to-school rush: essay questions from a teacher who didn’t finish any of the required reading (a.k.a. McSweeney’s).

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Loft Literary Center and Bust Magazine: Franny Choi

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