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Top Book Blogs 11/2015

[Bookslut] An Interview with Jill Bialosky
Jill Bialosky is a versatile and accomplished woman of letters. She's published acclaimed works of poetry, memoir, and fiction, and is an editor and senior executive at W.W. Norton. In whichever genre she is writing, to me her work stands...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Ken Kalfus
Ken Kalfus is a great American novelist and short story writer who for many years has enjoyed a stolid reputation and ardent following among his fellow writers. The themes and concerns of his fiction have remained surprisingly focused since his...

[Bookslut] Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose, art by Alé Garza
bourdain anthony get jiro blood and sushi

[Bookslut] Small Hours by Ilyse Kusnetz
kusnetz ilyse small hours

[Bookslut] Witches of America by Alex Mar
mar alex witches of america

[Bookslut] An Interview with Debra Monroe
Nearly twenty-five years ago, Debra Monroe first established her career with by winning the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction with her story collection, The Source of Trouble. A handful of acclaimed novels and story collections followed her debut, featuring...

[Bookslut] The Journey by Sergio Pitol, translated by George Henson
pitol sergio journey the

[Bookslut] Monsters Are Real
Samuel R. Delany's Tales of Nevèrÿon, which I wrote about here, introduced Nevèrÿon, a country on the brink of ancient history and civilization. Its five stories ranged across this ancient world, starting from the great port city of Kolhari out...

[Bookslut] The World Is on Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse by Joni Tevis
tevis joni world is on fire

[The Millions] Heathcliff Whr R U
The Guardian published a couple of fun pieces earlier this week. The first is a hilarious excerpt from Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters. The second is a collection of the top ten most memorable meals in all of literature.

[Bookslut] An Interview with Patricia Goldstone
The body of artist Mark Lombardi was discovered hanging in his studio soon after his big New York debut in 2000. The circumstances were suspect, almost immediately. Why would he kill himself immediately after his entry into the New York...

[The Millions] The End of Beauty
Recommended Reading: This essay on Jorie Graham, Modernist poetry, and the resistance of closure from The Nation. In the essay, Ange Mlinko puts Graham in league with such writers as John Ashbery and Frederick Seidel as some of the few living American poets “to have advanced a worldly,

[The Millions] Neil Gaiman Does TV
Good news for all the Neil Gaiman fans out there–a new, four-part television series called Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories is set to begin filming in November. The series will focus on a selection of Gaiman’s short stories and feature a singular ensemble cast throughout. This should whet

[Salon Books] When Texas fell to the wingnuts: The secret history of the Southern strategy, modern conservatism and the Lone Star State
From the vantage point of most Dallas Republicans in early 1963, Barry Goldwater represented the brightest hope for national conservative Republicanism since the death of Robert Taft in 1953. Annoyance with the New Deal, particularly the National Industrial Recovery Act’s wage and price controls,

[The Millions] Very, Very Direct
Ta-Nehisi Coates isn’t exactly sure why white people love his book so much. It is indisputable that they do love it, though; Coates’ Between the World and Me is a runaway bestseller and he is also the recipient of one of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “Genius grants.”

[The Millions] Near-Mythical Depictions
“For Groff, it is not that there’s a clearly delineated line between the universal and the particular, but rather that they are nested like Russian dolls: every story of the particular is also an iteration of the universal.” This review of Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies from 3:AM Magazine

[Salon Books] “My little war-porn addiction”: David Shields on how the New York Times made the Iraq and Afghanistan wars look “really cool, really glamorous, really bloodless”
The idiosyncratic Seattle-based writer David Shields was startled as he followed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through the New York Times’ visual representation. “At least once a week I would be enchanted and infuriated by these images, and I wanted to understand why,” he writes in the

[Salon Books] This is 2015’s most infuriating, overpraised novel: “What real person trapped in this novel wouldn’t become a drug addict?”
It’s useful to know on opening Hanya Yanagihara’s second novel, "A Little Life" — a month before the winner was announced, the 3-to-1 favorite to win the Man Booker Prize (ultimately won by Marlon James) — just how much research she did into the experiences and psychological background of

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: ESPN pulls the plug on Grantland
ESPN has pulled the plug on its sports, pop-culture, and news website Grantland. This comes about a month after editors Sean Fennessey, Juliet Litman, Mallory Rubin, and Chris Ryan left Grantland to work on an unknown project led by Grantland founder Bill Simmons. Many have mourned the loss of the

[Bookslut] To Believe in this Livin'
An incomplete list of topics I’ve notebooked since May: (one notebook gold one orange) The lyrics to John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery,” a song earworming me since this summer, when Ruby karaoked it on the dance floor in Wisconsin. Prine...

[Salon Books] The military-industrial-propaganda complex: The neo-con think tanks that drive policy and send us to war
America’s first think tanks developed in the early 1900s and grew out of a desire to improve government and to help government think, according to McGann. The first kind of think tank was the academic model, such as the Brookings Institution, founded in 1916 by reformers devoted to fact-based

[The Millions] #NaGrafWriMo: Welcome to National Paragraph Writing Month!
If you are a writer with a Facebook or Twitter account, you surely know that we are already two days into National Novel Writing Month — or as it’s known in the Twitterverse #NaNoWriMo — the month in which writers across the globe commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

[Guardian Books Blog] Poem of the week: Dibs Camp, the Women’s Prison by Choman Hardi
The psychic wounds of an atrocity during the Iran-Iraq war are brought home by the stoic but still anguished voice of a survivorDibs Camp, the Women’s PrisonNabat Fayaq RahmanYou do not die! Not when you want to.Not when you see your strong husband, the bigbrother in his own family, kicked bloody

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe
“At times I’ve thought to myself maybe I have been mad since I was three just as my mother says, and someday if I recover my sanity the phantom tormenting me I call a certain party will disappear.” So says the hospital-bed-ridden narrator of Kenzaburo Oe’s 1972 novella The

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Scientists in the public square
Should we train scientific generalists?

[The Millions] Guy Fawkes Night
“Remember, Remember the Fifth of November / Gunpowder, treason, and plot.” Edward Casey of Electric Literature recalls childhood memories of the strange, lawless, primal, pagan celebration of Guy Fawkes Night–and readers around the world grow jealous.

[The Millions] Good/Bad Franzen
Get to know the ins and outs of bookstore reading etiquette with this helpful guide (featuring none other than Jonathan Franzen) illustrated by Kate Gavino. Gavino, whose book Last Night’s Reading: Illustrated Encounters with Extraordinary Authors is out now, got her start with a wildly

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Ralph Young & Claire Potter | Dissent: The History of An American Idea

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Under closer scrutiny
A very big deal

[The Millions] Football Book Club: ‘The Sixth Extinction’
Football Book Club is back from its relaxing bye week —  and in preparation of the impending Environmental End Times, these truly decent, patriotic human beings are reading The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert. So pick up your copy today, read along, and learn how

[The Millions] Mythic Beginnings
Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”

[The Millions] Shellacked Decorative Vegetables
Halloween might be over, but the season of freakishly large decorative gourds lives on. Here’s a fascinating essay from The Toast on how to raise enormous pumpkins–county fair, here we come.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Part of democracy
Did you say that voting is ridiculous?

[The Millions] Dostoyevsky’s Yard Sales
This edition of Apartment Therapy with Ivan Ilych from the good people over at McSweeney’s will have you packing up shop and heading for St. Petersburg in no time. For a slightly more serious take on Tolstoy, here’s a piece on morals and manners in The Death of Ivan Ilych.

[Salon Books] Jeb Bush is the most boring man alive: What’s worse than getting a “reply-all” email? Reading an entire book of Jeb’s
Across the Republican establishment, numerous funders and party fathers are scratching their heads: How did the Jeb Bush campaign go so wrong? His father and brother managed not only to win the party’s nomination but to get elected president – twice, in the case of a brother supposedly less

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: An Amazon bookstore; profiling Mary Gaitskill
Both ways is the only way they want it: After helping put who knows how many others out of business, Amazon open their own physical bookstore. For the New York Times magazine, Parul Sehgal profiles Mary Gaitskill, whose new novel, The Mare, is reviewed in the next issue of Bookforum. In person,

[The Millions] A Heightened State of Emotion: The Millions Interviews Mary Gaitskill
Mary Gaitskill’s singular ability to create characters that are rigid and vulnerable, complex and demanding, has earned her a devoted readership, along with a National Book Award nomination, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a PEN/Faulkner nomination. Her new novel, The Mare, is softer in many ways

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Irving; Hijuelos; Eco; Rothschild; Golden; Alarcón; Gaitskill
Out this week: Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving; Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos; Numero Zero by Umberto Eco; The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild; Wherever There Is Light by Peter Golden; City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcón; and The Mare by Mary

[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] OMNIVORE: The afterlife of the mind
The death of the bourgeois subject

[The Millions] Stories Are Clumsy Beasts
Over at ZYZZYVA, Christian Kiefer talks to playwright Octavio Solis and novelist Scott Hutchins about the craft of writing and the difference between writing plays and writing novels. “It takes a huge amount of hard labor, man, to harness the forces that we are using to make our stories. They may

[The Millions] Masters of Names
Georgy Manaev investigates the pen names of famous Russian writers, from Maxim Gorky to Chekhov. Pair with this Millions piece on literary names that are hard to pronounce.

[The Millions] Making a Living
Alice Driver writes for Vela about growing up in Arkansas and becoming an artist. As she explains it, “Because I have no debt, I have been able to pursue writing and have had the opportunity to fail time and again.” Pair with Kate Angus’s Millions essay on making a living as a poet.

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Live Lit: Lindsay Hunter

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Then everything changed
Moulded into any shape

[The Millions] Missing Letters
Nick Stockton wonders why writers are such bad proofreaders of their own work. He argues that it is hard to catch typos because our brains arrive at meaning faster by taking shortcuts. Also enjoy this skit of Strunk & White in conversation with the grammar police.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Is China the new Spanish Empire?
The "Asian Century" might just belong to India

[The Millions] Reading about Reading
Recommended Reading: Clare Beams writes for Ploughshares about the effect of reading a story in which someone reads a story.

[Salon Books] Gillian Flynn isn’t writing “the next ‘Gone Girl'”: “I feel like I need a break from their voices in my head”
After two previous novels, Gillian Flynn catapulted to fame with 2012’s bestselling "Gone Girl"; the movie, for which she wrote the screenplay, came out in 2014. The Kansas City native, who previously worked as a film and TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, now lives in Chicago with her husband

[The Millions] Ambrose Akinmusire and Jazz in the Smoldering City: A Dispatche From Kyiv
1. In the 18 months since Kyiv’s Maidan protests have moved on, flared up, and fizzled in the cities of the east, Ukraine has managed to lurch into geopolitical purgatory — not as hot as Damascus, not as cool as Prague. The city has settled into the importunate schizophrenia of the


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