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Top Book Blogs 09/2015

[The Millions] The Last Epoch: Tom McCarthy’s ‘Satin Island’ Takes on the Avant-Garde
1. Two Sides of the Same Street If you’ve read a review of any novel by Tom McCarthy anytime in the last 10 years, you know that you don’t have to look very far to find the term avant-garde, and equally as often, the consensus that McCarthy is the new standard bearer of the avant-garde in

[Guardian Books Blog] Fishnet by Kirstin Innis – complicating the story of sex work
The tale of a woman whose moral certainties about prostitution are challenged by her experience is warm and engaging, if at times a little hectoring“Everybody thinks they understand what the word prostitute means. It’s this idea of victimhood, of badness and helplessness,” Kirstin Innis told

[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 be featured here 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.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Günter Grass’s warning; Graywolf’s rise
As the death toll rises for people seeking refuge in Europe, Steidl has published the last book by Günter Grass, who died in April: The book contains an exhortation to his fellow Germans to display greater compassion towards refugees. “Why change a winning team?” asked Eula Biss’s literary

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Drones are here
When it comes to "doing no harm", robots are a hell of a lot better than humans

[The Millions] After the Storm
Ten years after hurricane Katrina, Fatima Shaik reflects on freedom of expression, gentrification, and the state of education in New Orleans. You could also check out Gary Rivlin’s Katrina: After the Flood, featured in our 2015 nonfiction preview.

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Ferrante; Clegg; Meno; Salesses; Jaffe; Franzen
Out this week: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante; Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg; Marvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno; The Hundred Year Flood by Matthew Salesses (who recently wrote for us); Dryland by Sara Jaffe; and Purity by Jonathan Franzen (which we reviewed). For more on

[The Millions] The Idealistic Hero
“What is missing from Testimony is the customary idealistic hero, the one last encountered in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass who doesn’t avert his eyes from suffering and sordidness, but who nevertheless is full of hope for a better future. Testimony is a corrective, an anti-epic.”

[The Millions] Goodbye to Naples
Recommended Reading: Year in Reading alumna Elissa Schappell interviews Elena Ferrante about feminism, friendship, and her latest Neapolitan novel. Pair with Cora Currier’s essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s books.

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Kent Russell at the NYS Writers Institute in 2015

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Flip the script
Forgetting the lessons

[The Millions] Postscript
Just before he died earlier this year, Nobel winner Günter Grass completed his last manuscript, Vonne Endlichkait, “a literary experiment” that combines prose, poetry, and illustration. The book has just been published in German and will be available in English next year.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Haunting the world economy
If the rich world aimed for minimal growth, would it be a disaster or a blessing?

[NYT] Five Poets Receive Lucrative Fellowships
The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine announced the winners on Tuesday.

[The Millions] Poems on Poems
“Of course, his word-pictures don’t define the art of poetry—nor are they meant to. In part they exemplify it; in part provide a warning that such an art eludes straightforward setting out in words.” On Horace’s and Archibald MacLeish’s Ars Poetica.

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Tell It Slant
Dodie Bellamy and Eileen Myles delight in reinventing form, other writers, and themselves

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Bribes for authors; cash for poets
The author of the latest James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, has had to apologize for his bizarre suggestion that Idris Elba was not suave enough to be the next 007. In France, the authors of a book critical of the Moroccan monarchy (originally set to come out in 2016) have been arrested and dropped

[The Millions] That’s Too Much: The Problem with Prolific Writers
On Thursday, The New York Times published an op-ed defense of prolific writers by one of the modern era’s most prolific writers himself, Stephen King. It was a timely bit of writing for me, a non-prolific writer with a first book deal in the works, for whom the question of appropriate literary

[Guardian Books Blog] September's Reading group: The Book of Daniel by EL Doctorow
The most popular choice for this month is – shockingly – tough to find, but we can still focus on a great book The Waterworks was the popular choice for this month’s Reading group commemorating the writer EL Doctorow. It came top by a considerable margin. This is both good and bad news.It’s

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How to speak foreign policy
America's never been safer, so why are Republicans convinced it's in mortal peril?

[Guardian Books Blog] Bringing Irish short stories by women into the spotlight
They have often been overlooked in anthologies, but there is a long and thriving tradition from Maria Edgeworth to Eimear McBrideRichard Ford calls the short story the “high wire act of literature”, but my favourite description comes from Irish writer Mary Lavin, who described it as an “arrow

[The Millions] The Word of God
William Tyndale, one of the leading figures in the Protestant reform, was executed in 1536 for his translation of the Bible into English. Over at Asymptote Journal, Josh Billings considers the meaning of Tyndale’s death. As he explains it, “It happened in an era when translation was taken

[The Millions] The World of Books
“If they are honest with themselves, authors of color know what stories they’re supposed to tell, and know that attempts to move beyond those stories are not so often accepted.” Matthew Salesses on the danger of cultural homogeneity in the world of books, over at Literary Hub. Pair

[The Millions] Women Writers are Winners
The Rona Jaffe Foundation has announced the six recipients of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards, which are given annually to emerging women writers. This year’s winners are Millions contributor Meehan Crist for nonfiction, Vanessa Hua for fiction, Ashley M. Jones for poetry, Britteney

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Sheila Heti's First Time | My First Time | The Paris Review

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Rapidly evolving
Inside the wonderful world

[The Millions] Poetry Machine
Villanelle Bot, a Twitter bot that composes poems in villanelle form, is publishing the automated poetry on their blog. The bot uses Twitter posts from random people, then stitches together all lines that end in certain words to form a full poem. You could also check out our piece on the best of

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Who knew administrative law could be so much fun?
Visualizing change in administrative law

[The Millions] Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts
Recommended Reading: Clare Cavanagh on the experience of translating the work of Polish poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Don DeLillo wins a medal
Don DeLillo is to get this year’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. He took the opportunity (via the Associated Press) to offer some career advice to other novelists: “It’s true that some of us become better writers by living long

[Guardian Books Blog] Mira Gonzalez’s poems are quietly defining texts of the digital era
The young poet has become unwittingly involved in a social media stir about Lily Allen’s marriage. What’s all the fuss about?It was the Instagram image that launched a thousand rumours. Three weeks ago, Lily Allen posted a picture of her hand hovering over a poetry collection called i will never

[The Millions] How Iceberg Slim Schooled Dr. Dre: On Justin Gifford’s ‘Street Poison’
1. Justin Gifford’s timing is impeccable. He has just published his second book, Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim, a vivid retelling of the fluorescently eventful life of a hardened pimp, drug addict, and convict who turned to writing highly autobiographical pulp fiction about black

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How economists think differently
Beware of American econ professors

[The Millions] Devastating Stories
Recommended Reading: “The Misanthropic Genius of Joy Williams” in The New York Times Magazine. Her latest collection of short stories, The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories, which was included on our most anticipated list, will be released on September 8th. “When I asked

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Richard Price Talks with David Simon About His New Novel "The Whites"

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: League and wonder
Seven times more

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Women in music
Fighting for diversity in a genre mostly known for angry white men

[The Millions] Lost in a Book
World-building is an essential part of any story, but what about map-making? At Book Riot, two cartographers explain how they create the maps we see inside books. One cartographer’s perspective: “I really wanted to make a map that could easily be an artifact from the world of the book…. I came

[The Millions] Why?
Jesse Eisenberg’s nephew has a few questions for him in The New Yorker. Listen to Eisenberg read a piece of his new book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, and face existential doubt in Shouts and Murmurs.

[The Millions] Purely Comedic
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross sits down with Jonathan Franzen to talk about Purity, writing, and the possibility of parenthood. “I’ve always thought of myself as a comic novelist. It’s a tough road to hoe because comedy means light in people’s mind. There was an ambitious part of me that kind of

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Women in music
Fighting for diversity in a genre mostly known for angry white men

[The Millions] United Slang of America
(Interactive) Infographic of the Week: Slate’s United Slang of America. Click each state to find out more about the state-specific slang. You could also read our own Michael Bourne’s piece on, like, why the word like is really cool!

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: True Stories
Mary Karr's unsparing advice for making a memoir out of the messy stuff of life.

[Guardian Books Blog] Ten fictional hackers, from the Matrix to Jonathan Franzen
The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Franzen’s Purity show how far the cyber-criminal has come in infiltrating fictionJust published a few days apart, Stieg Larsson sequel The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Jonathan Franzen’s Purity show how far the hacker has come in fiction: a 30-year

[Guardian Books Blog] Poster poems: the alphabet
These most fundamental components of all writing have long fascinated poets, and spell out your challenge for SeptemberIf William Carlos Williams’s “a poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words” is right, and I see no reason to demur, then written poems are built on a foundation of

[Guardian Books Blog] The book I'm sending a prisoner
This week, the government lifted the ban on sending books to prisoners in the UK. We ask former prisoners and relatives which titles they are planning to post to incarcerated friends and family – and whyErwin James: Books kept me alive in prisonReaders’ panel: experiences of books in

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: More medals for writers
Several writers are to be awarded the National Humanities Medal, including Jhumpa Lahiri, Larry McMurtry, and Annie Dillard. You’d think the Daily Mail would have grown a thicker skin by now, but in fact, is suing Gawker for publishing some mean things about its editorial model (in

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How do you speak American?
Everything that makes English such a glorious drunkard's debauch of a language

[The Millions] Revealing the System
“You know, it’s dangerous to focus on one person as a way of talking about a big system. But I think Kissinger reveals the system. He’s not singularly responsible for the system—if we expunge Kissinger from history, we still wouldn’t have a Virtuous Republic—but he illuminates it like

[The Millions] My Summer with Henry: On Thoreau’s ‘Cape Cod’
In the summer of 2013, I walked into Parnassus, one of the numerous second-hand bookshops on Cape Cod. Its front room is a gold-mine of rare editions of literature dedicated to the Cape and Massachusetts. Of those was a Houghton, Mifflin 1904 edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Cape Cod, in two

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