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Top Book Blogs 12/2015

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: 2015
Now in its second glorious decade, the Year in Reading has become a Millions tradition, featuring contributions from a roster of emerging and marquee authors, staff writers, and friends of the site. It’s an effort that yields hundreds of books for to-be-read piles, as well as some of the best

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Tuil; Curtright; Young; Hall; Bukowski
New this week: The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil; The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska by Eileen Curtright; Shock by Shock by Dean Young; The Selected Poems of Donald Hall; and On Cats by Charles Bukowski. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Stephen Dodson (Languagehat)
My year has been even more filled with good reading than usual; fortunately, some of the books are so well known there is little need for me to give them a plug, and I will list them at the end so you can point and laugh (“Seriously, you went over half a century without reading Jane Eyre?”).

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Can the Paris climate talks save our planet?
The most ambitious emissions pledges on the table in Paris would still result in catastrophic warming

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Critic vs. Editor
In the current issue of the New York Review of Books, there’s an intriguing exchange between the editor of Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life and Daniel Mendelsohn, one of the critics Jennifer Weiner recently accused of “Goldfinching” (delegitimizing even literary fiction if it’s

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The slow work
Fighting phonies

[The Millions] The Duty of Thankfulness
“The worst insult people hurl at adoptees is that they are ‘ungrateful’ and should ‘go back’ (to their ‘own’ countries, to their old families). That is the moment when adoption becomes a gift—because that is the moment when it becomes clear that adoption

[Guardian Books Blog] Translation Tuesday: Okinawa, Mon Amour by Betina González
In this story set in 80s Japan, South-American and Japanese schoolchildren lie down on train tracks and reminisce about legends of wars past – until a very real conflict disrupts their blissful youthBy Betina González and Meghan Flaherty for Translation Tuesdays by Asymptote, part of the Guardian

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Ottessa Moshfegh
When I read Endless Love by Scott Spencer, I couldn’t stop talking about it. Why did it affect me so much? Because I was in a rut with love. While recovering from my own experiences, witnessing cultural demonstrations of “romantic relationships” had turned me off of sex and

[The Millions] The Personal Is Political, the Political is Personal
Over at Electric Literature, John Freeman profiles Year in Reading alumnus Ben Lerner, newly minted MacArthur genius and author of two novels in which “the political opens a path for the personal, just as the personal urges him to engage the political.” Freeman writes, “This blending—of

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor and Cecil Baldwin with Lev Grossman

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Is capitalism all that bad?
Reports of capitalism's death have been greatly exaggerated

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Field experiment
At the expense of smaller competitors

[The Millions] Between Life and Death
Over at the Public Domain Review, Sharon Ruston examines the scientific background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, from resuscitation to galvanism.

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Atticus Lish
I think Ghettoside by Jill Leovy is a great, important book. First, there’s her choice of subject: a murder epidemic, which has been dismissed and forgotten. There’s her approach: street-level investigative journalism combined with an anthropological, historical perspective. And,

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How can ISIS be defeated?
Our reaction to terrorism is more dangerous than the terrorists

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Anatomy of a Meltdown
Ben Bernanke's Washington tell-all says too little, too late

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Angela Flournoy
In January I vowed to purchase and read as much poetry as I read fiction. I traveled more this year than ever before, mostly in support of my novel, and poetry became a way to keep good words on my person without lugging around a heavy hardcover. For a fiction writer like me, who loves clause-heavy

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How long can the GOP deny climate change?
The Republican Party could be the single greatest impediment to global efforts to slow climate change

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Morrissey’s accolade; Badiou comes to town
Morrissey has won the UK’s annual Bad Sex Award with his otherwise un-garlanded first novel, List of the Lost. The scene that helped him beat out competition from the likes of Joshua Cohen and Erica Jong involves “a giggling snowball of full-figured copulation,” a “clamorous rollercoaster

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Rules are different
Total nonsense is really deep

[The Millions] December Stories
Recommended Reading: The fall issue of December is out, featuring works by Grace Cavalieri, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Marge Piercy, and our own Michael Bourne.

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Claire Messud
One of the great pleasures of this year for me was the last volume of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy, The Story of the Lost Child. It’s not to be read on its own, though — you’ve got to devour the other three books first. Ferrante builds her rich and textured world over time, and

[The Millions] Version Control
“Arguably versioning is a practice reserved for when a literary translator isn’t available or perhaps doesn’t actually exist who can bridge both languages. At worst, it has and can be done by colonisers or writers from major languages mangling minor literatures for sport and without care from

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Danielle Allen on the Promise of American Democracy

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The race to stop the next mass shooter
What if we made gun culture uncool like we did cigarettes?

[NYT] Morrissey Wins Bad Sex in Fiction Award
Morrissey, the singer and former Smiths frontman, earned the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for a passage from his debut novel.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Whisper campaigns
Revolution or red herring

[The Millions] Milk It Until It’s Dead
Joseph P. Kahn writes for The Boston Globe that books published posthumously are among the most profitable, from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy to David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. Pair with the opening lines of The Pale King, and a previously unpublished scene.

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Celeste Ng
Early in 2015, I was lucky enough to do an event with Joan Wickersham at a new indie bookstore in Boston, Papercuts JP. So her memoir The Suicide Index was one of the first books I read this year, and at year’s end, it’s still haunting me. It’s a painful book but also a beautiful one, in

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Insights from post-Soviet countries
Is Kazakhstan's "dialogue of civilizations" all about image, or doing some real good?

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Nell Zink
2015 was the year I first read William Styron and enjoyed Jonathan Franzen, two impassioned existentialists whose characters — machines célibataires initially persuaded of the arability of signs — fail at their world-building, not even spectacularly but in ways that embarrass even

[Guardian Books Blog] Poster poems: ice
The element of frozen hell and hopeless waters, the indifferent heart and the chill hand of loss. Thaw out your imagination and submit your ice-capped rimesThe first frost of winter is one of the clearest markers of change in the annual cycle of life. Nothing quite signals nature’s hibernation,

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Killed daily by guns
Should we aspire to become a gun-free society?

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Poe in Paris
The Paris Review has appointed a new Paris editor, Antonin Baudry, who sends a dispatch from there that touches on the spike in sales of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Michel Houellebecq’s New York Times op-ed, and perhaps more surprisingly, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue,

[Guardian Books Blog] Food in books: the marzipan in The Miniaturist
From a train journey through woods of Oregon, Kate Young writes about the marzipan she’s made to get into the December mood – inspired by Jessie Burton’s historical novel, she trialled 17th-century recipes until she got it rightBy Kate Young for The Little Library Café, part of the Guardian

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Out of control
Plan, explained

[Guardian Books Blog] Is being compared to Gollum the ultimate insult... or precious praise?
A man may go to jail for two years for comparing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Gollum from Lord of the Rings on Facebook. But is Gollum tragically misunderstood?Would you mind being compared to Gollum, the slimy, bulged-eyed backstabber from JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the

[The Millions] Reading the Past
Finalists for the Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize—including Sophie McManus, Ben Metcalf, Lori Ostlund, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Chigozie Obioma, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Angela Flournoy—discuss the books that made them the writers they are today. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone’s recent

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Claire Vaye Watkins
We like to go on about why we read, the power of literature, etc. Literature can transform indifference into empathy, we insist, transubstantiate ink on bleached papyrus into flesh and blood. It’s all very “Kumbayah” and, coming from writers, a tad grandiose. A little defensive, even. “It

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Jonathan Bate on The Unauthorised Life of Ted Hughes

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Is Uber disruptive?
How companies like Uber work around regulations, avoid paying taxes, and shaft their workers

[The Millions] An Egg with a Horse Inside
“Poetry is an egg with a horse inside.” — An anonymous third grader. Matthea Harvey writes about the power of poetry and how children can enjoy poetry in the classroom. For more poetry, check out our On Poetry column.

[The Millions] Thirteen Poems
Check out thirteen poems by Lydia Davis in BOMB Magazine. You could also read Adam Boffa’s piece about Davis’s work and Twitter.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: A huge increase
Pet allegiance to etiquette

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Chris Kraus
I read and re-read Fred Moten’s The Little Edges this summer, dipping in and out of poems, intrigued and amazed by how they could be at the same time so elusive and eloquent, mysterious and clear. And then I discovered Vincent Katz’s hugely impressive translations of The Complete Elegies of

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: ISIS and the logic of fanaticism
Questions about ISIS you were too embarrassed to ask

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Katrina Dodson
This year, my pleasure reading happened in fits and starts, in between ominous deadlines and periods of resting my brain with easy sitcoms (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Mindy Project, Seinfeld). In January, I was most thankful for Roxane Gay’s company in Bad Feminist, as I was in the final

[The Millions] The Millions Top Ten: November 2015
We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use

[The Millions] A Year in Reading: Joyce Carol Oates
Among the most engaging new books I’ve perused in recent months are C.K. Williams’s Selected Later Poems — beautifully intricate, contentious, strikingly ardent poems by one of our great contemporary poets; The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, edited by Bill Henderson


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