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Top Book Blogs 09/2015 (Page 6)

[The Millions] Salton Sea as Holy Land
“Every journal is a confessional. If it’s in the first person, it cannot help but be. Unless the author of it lies to himself—and that makes it even more of a confessional. For some reason, travel brings out confessions one would never make at home. I am trying to draw the rake of my journal

[The Millions] Still Married
Over at Hazlitt, Lesley Buxton’s moving essay on marriage, grief, and understanding will hit you square in the heart. Here’s an essay for The Millions by Lydia Yuknavitch on art and loss that is similarly heavy and no less wonderful.

[The Millions] Writer as Painter
“The past fascinates me obsessively, I suppose, because it’s such a strange phenomenon. The past was the present at some point, and it was just as boring as the present. What makes it so important? What gives it that luminous, exalted quality where it becomes the past?” John Banville addresses

[Salon Books] “We’re still dealing with autism like it’s this wacky historical aberration”: Steve Silberman on the truth about autism
About 100 pages into Steve Silberman’s new book about autism, "NeuroTribes," I began to wonder how exactly Silberman had managed to pull the whole thing off. By most rules of publishing, "NeuroTribes" shouldn’t exist. Yes, it’s a readable, engaging story. But it’s also a serious political

[The Millions] The Soufflé Also Rises
Has a cookbook ever changed your life? Here is Christine Baumgarthuber for The New Inquiry on early cookbooks and the lifestyle revolution that they sparked. Further your culinary exploits with Stephanie Bernhard’s essay for The Millions on cooking with Ernest Hemingway.

[Salon Books] Our graduate school nightmare: Higher education is broken — here’s how we fix it
Is graduate school “broken”? I ask this advisedly, for talk about “broken” institutions has become a tired cliché. But it’s a tricky question in this case, because you can declare something broken only if you know how it’s supposed to work in the first place. Most academics, from

[The Millions] Cozy Bildungsroman
Could “cozy literary fiction” ever be a thing? Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has penned a passionate defense of the unintentionally hilarious “cozy mystery” genre. Sate your mystery fix with this essay from The Millions’ own Matt Seidel on the four ways to wrap up a mystery tale.

[Salon Books] “The terror is lurking either in the home, or just outside of it”: How women writers redefined postwar noir
A new anthology from the Library of America may make us rethink the history of American crime fiction. “Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s and '50s” collects novels mostly by people you’ve never heard of but will want to know more about after you’ve completed its two

[Salon Books] The best places to live in America: How college towns perfected the city
Places Rated Almanac bills itself as a “guide to finding the best places to live.” It compares and ranks all 343 metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada, taking into account cost of living, job opportunities, transportation, housing, recreation, climate and so on. The metropolitan

[Salon Books] “I guess when Dad said that he’d like to f**k everyone in the audience the nice, Midwest policemen didn’t see the humor in that”: George Carlin’s daughter remembers the advent of “7 dirty words”
Freedom of Speech 1972 1972 was quite a summer. Everything had changed. Only a few years earlier my dad had been a clean-cut, thin-tied suit-wearing guy who was opening for the Supremes in Vegas and doing spots on "The Ed Sullivan Show." He was making a great living working clean.  Now in 1972, his

[Salon Books] My lessons in prostitution: How I learned the myth of the high-class hooker
"[F]rom the perspective of a woman in prostitution or a woman who has been in prostitution—the distinctions other people make between whether the event took place in the Plaza Hotel or somewhere more inelegant are not the distinctions that matter. These are irreconcilable perceptions, with

[Salon Books] The right hides behind a fictional Bible: Memo to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump — your favorite book is made up
Donald Trump told us recently that the Bible is his favorite book. Ted Cruz announced, rather unoriginally, that God speaks through the Bible. Cruz père has declared that the Bible establishes criteria for political electability. Sarah Palin dreams of enacting Biblical law in the United States, and

[Salon Books] “If you really like him, then wish for the family to put him on hospice”: The first hard truth of this 12-hour shift
“Rapid response team” comes over the PA system and I wait, holding my breath, to find out where. “Medical Oncology.” Shit! Our floor? Which room? “It’s here! It’s Mr. King!” I hear Nora. She’s in the pod next to mine. I walk back to her, fast, and see Susie coming down the hall,

[The Millions] One Does Not Try
“I preach the radio. I do not preach thinking you must know what you are about. Faulkner had good drugs and a big radio. I recall having heard my own little radio at times. It is rare, yes, and it is, now, rarer. But you are young and have your juice, you’re still full of poop, which is the

[The Millions] Who You’ve Lost
This incredible essay from Rita Gabis at Guernica examines the bizarre intersection of dreams, truth, and murder. If that subject matter piques your interest, here are a few essays from The Millions that also touch on dreams, truth, and murder, respectively.

[The Millions] Sense of an Ending
How do you know when you’re finished writing a novel? Electric Literature’s advice column, The Blunt Instrument, tackles the timeless questions of how to begin and when to end. If it’s endings you’re after, this piece from The Millions on writers and last lines will help give you some

[The Millions] Thunder Thighs
Recommended Reading: This important essay from Gayle Branedis at The Rumpus on our cultural obsession with women’s thighs. 

[The Millions] Author as Commercial Mechanism
Has Edward St. Aubyn killed the existentialist novel? Jacob Kiernan at Full Stop Magazine has a few ideas about it. If it’s existential quandary you’re after, this essay for The Millions on the beautiful afterlife of books–which may not be so much of an afterlife, after all–will be perfect

[Salon Books] The threesome that made me a high-priced escort: “Is this your first time in Vegas?”
I was already giddy with endorphins from skydiving when we got back to our hotel room just after six o’clock. The escort was due at seven. I pulled on a special bra-and-panty set I’d brought along for the occasion and then slid into a light blue sundress. It was short enough to show off my

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Divine Comedies
Joy Williams's stories about death, dogs, and God

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Geoff Dyer, Ping Pong champion
The Brooklyn Book Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary yesterday with a full day of author panels and other events—all of which concluded with a Ping Pong tournament, of course. Contestants included Jonathan Lethem, Fiona Maazel, PEN’s Paul Morris, Pico Iyer, Robert Christgau, Marlon James,

[Guardian Books Blog] The Rainbow Picnic by Daphne Fielding – one bright young thing on another | Rachel Cooke’s shelf life
Scour the secondhand stalls for this delightful biography of the poet, actor and Modigliani model Iris TreeAs I watched the first part of All Change at Longleat, the embarrassingly gripping BBC series about the warring eccentrics who inhabit that amazing Wiltshire house, something kept nagging at

[The Millions] The National Book Award’s Longlist in Nonfiction: What a Difference a Year Makes
Last year, as I wrapped up writing my biography of Constance Fenimore Woolson, a writer who battled gender discrimination in her own day and has been unjustly forgotten in ours, I grew increasingly aware of how women continue to be sidelined in the literary world, thanks to the work of VIDA. Then

[Guardian Books Blog] Poem of the week: The Tides by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Awash with syntactical and structural fluctuations that embody its central theme, Longfellow’s restless Petrarchan sonnet ranges far beyond technical virtuosityThe TidesI saw the long line of the vacant shore,The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,As

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How we think about poverty
Welfare reform left behind a weaker social safety net and increased deep poverty

[The Millions] Fusion of the Popular
Here is Amitav Ghosh in conversation with Michael Berkeley for the BBC Radio3 broadcast about his new novel, Flood of Fire. In the interview, Ghosh talks about his childhood by the water and the influence of the sea on his work. He also curates a playlist of influential music that ranges from

[Guardian Books Blog] Top five Jackie Collins novels
From The Stud to The Bitch, the queen of the bonk-buster revelled in a world of sex, scandal and glamour. Here are a few of my guilty pleasures. What are yours?As a teenager, I knew that other people were reading Jackie Collins. After all, her books screamed “No 1 bestseller” on the front. But I

[Guardian Books Blog] The Good Son by Paul McVeigh – close, but no Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Mickey Donnelly, a 10-year-old narrator coming of age during the Troubles, has earned McVeigh’s debut comparisons with Roddy Doyle that are hard to shakeJust over a decade ago, Roddy Doyle made the headlines by suggesting that “Ulysses could have done with a good editor” and complaining, “If

[The Millions] A Lot o’ Duffers
Nobody wants to be a Hufflepuff! Over at The Atlantic, David Sims defends the oft-maligned Harry Potter house for their egalitarian ethos and general goodness. At The Millions, Michelle Dean’s essay about the value of J.K. Rowling’s Potter series will have you wanting to give them a re-read.

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Prof Eric Foner - The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: No matter what
The world will look dramatically different

[The Millions] Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mutt: On Patrick Modiano
1. I remember when I began to hate Patrick Modiano. It was in November, 1978. Lingering at the newsstand next to the old Arts Cinema in Cambridge, England, waiting to catch a matinée and leafing through the latest copy of the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, I came across a photo that soured my

[Book Forum] MISCELLANEOUS: The Banality of Optimism
Nations, like political creeds, can be upbeat or downbeat. Along with North Korea, the United States is one of the few countries on earth in which optimism is almost a state ideology. For large sectors of the nation, to be bullish is to be patriotic, while negativity is a species of thought crime.

[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.

[The Millions] Weaponized Friendship
Recommended reading: This review of The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship by Marilyn Yalom and Theresa Donovan Brown. Here are a couple of complementary friendship-related essays from The Millions.

[The Millions] Our Ramshackle Universe
“I’m writing about people. Man involved in the human dilemma, facing the problems bigger than he, whether he licks them or whether they lick him. But man as frail and fragile as he is, yet he will keep on trying to be brave and honest and compassionate, and that, to me, is very fine and very

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: God and the American experiment
When Christians abandon Christian standards of behavior in the defense of Christianity

[The Millions] Football Book Club: Lawrence Wright’s ‘Going Clear’
This week, Football Book Club will be reading Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright and posting essays about Brain Fever by Kimiko Hahn — its selection from last week — and life without the NFL. Going Clear was a  National Book Award and

[The Millions] The Fairy King
Ian Thompson for The Telegraph has written a fantastic, comprehensive piece on the fabulous allure of the Cuban-born, Italian writer Italo Calvino. Head back to The Millions for a couple of pieces on Calvino’s sixth memo and science fiction masterpiece, respectively.

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Okparanta; Ostlund; Walsh; Alsanousi; Michael; Williams; Herrera
Out this week: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta; After the Parade by Lori Ostlund; Hotel by Joanna Walsh; The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi; Succession by Livi Michael; Selected Later Poems by C.K. Williams; and Notes on the Assemblage by Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. For more

[The Millions] Scenes From Our Unproduced Screenplay: ‘Strunk & White: Grammar Police’
EXT. CITY ALLEYWAY. NIGHT. Police tape marks the scene. Red and blue lights flash. A young, nervous-looking BEAT COP sees STRUNK and WHITE approaching. BEAT COP It’s over here, detectives. The body was found about an hour ago. STRUNK Use the active voice, rookie. BEAT COP Oh god, it’s horrible.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: New biography spawns a very British scandal
An unauthorized biography of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Call Me Dave, is continuing to dominate headlines in the UK. Cowritten by Lord Ashcroft, a former Conservative Party treasurer and major party donor who is apparently sad about not getting the government job he was promised, the book

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Gender bias in academia
Does the gender composition of scientific committees matter?

[The Millions] Censoring an Iranian Story
Recommended Reading: Iranian novelist-in-exile Shahriar Mandanipour talks about censorship, religion, and love in Little Village.

[The Millions] Connecting the Dots
How did commas, colons, dashes, and question marks come into existence? Keith Houston writes for BBC about the history of punctuation.

[The Millions] On Magna Opera
Nabokov fans, brace yourselves! Roxana Robinson makes a case against Lolita, “a brilliant book in many ways, but not a masterpiece.”

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: A hugely inconvenient truth
Tearing at the seams

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Ann Beattie | The State We're In

[The Millions] Literature on Tape
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Library of Congress has made 50 recordings from the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape available online. Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriela Mistral, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, and others read from their work.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Human migration will be a defining issue of this century
The problem with humanitarian borders


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