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Top Book Blogs 01/2016

[Guardian Books Blog] Science fiction and fantasy look ahead to a diverse 2016
After years of toil below the mainstream radar, a more inclusive generation of writers is set for crossover successAfter fans fought back at the Hugos, seeing off the Sad Puppies with a host of votes for “no award”, we can look forward to SF becoming a little less old, white and male in 2016.

[Guardian Books Blog] The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett – an extraordinary story of ordinary life
A portrait of a young woman, whose destiny remains unchanged by the historical convulsions around her, is a curiously uplifting readGuardian Witness: which books do you love to share?Read more in our ‘A book to share’ series“No English novelist ever suggested more unspeakable things, and got

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: How to be American
What can Star Trek teach us about American exceptionalism?

[Salon Books] Make this your Facebook resolution: The best thing you can do to safeguard your privacy in 2016
Social media is a huge part of daily life for many people; some even find it hard to imagine living without it. We use it to check in with friends, keep tabs on family members, shop for jobs and new purchases, and stay abreast of the latest breaking news. And let’s not forget the flame wars in

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Just another example
Running amok

[Salon Books] You’ll never drink again: Sex, race, science and the real story of Prohibition
Between 1880 and 1920 over twenty million men and women immigrated to the United States, drawn by the voracious appetite of manufacturers large and small for their labor. The largest flows of immigration took place between 1900 and World War I. In 1907 alone, over one million immigrants entered the

[Guardian Books Blog] Flash fiction: Hello from an Old Friend
In our latest original short story from Tin House, Erin McGraw explores the dangers of looking up old friends on the internetBy Erin McGraw for Flash Fridays by Tin House, part of the Guardian Books NetworkThe impulse comes over me when I’m bored and out of sorts. Paul would say that it’s Satan

[Book Forum] VIDEO: On Stalin's Team by Sheila Fitzpatrick

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: All we need for justice
What's wrong with inequality?

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Provisional thoughts
Eager to assert greater influence

[Salon Books] After spending 2 years in solitude, I know something about loneliness. So why is New Year’s still so rough?
More than half of Americans over the age of 16 are single, myself included, and New Year’s can be rough on us.  We tend to fear the cozily smug parties of the dating and the doting, to flinch at the mass kissing migration at midnight, and, should we muster the self-respect or self-loathing simply

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Who has won and who has lost in the Ukraine conflict
Reconciliation in Ukraine must (and can) happen now

[Salon Books] The lost pop genius of Scott Miller: “Whatever makes you fall in love with a pop song … he did that”
In mid-December, Omnivore Records announced a reissue of Game Theory's 1987 double LP, "Lolita Nation." To say the news was long-awaited is an understatement: The album has been out of print and nearly impossible to find on CD for many years (unless you want to shell out big bucks on eBay), and it's

[Salon Books] “Delusional and reflexive invocations of American exceptionalism”: What the GOP field won’t admit about our history may make everything worse
The Vietnam War ended 40 years ago, yet this brutal episode continues to haunt America and affect our foreign policy, our culture, and our national identity. The war left more than 58,000 Americans dead in combat and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese dead, including many civilians. Indeed, U.S.

[The Millions] Fifty Shades Again
Believe it or not, Fifty Shades of Grey was still the bestselling book of 2015. For a fascinating, in-depth look at what sold and what didn’t, head over to The Guardian. The disconnect between the retail top ten and the myriad year-end lists alone is worth the look.

[The Millions] We Can’t All Be David Ebershoff
Recommended Reading: this essay by Sophia Knight on why she decided to quit her high-stakes job as a corporate editor in favor of a more modest writer’s income. If it’s publishing stories you’re after, here’s an old Millions favorite on whether or not to self-publish.

[Salon Books] I am the Fox News atheist: “Some call me a militant atheist. Others call me a dick. I am neither”
Once again, abherrant [sic] groups like you and the homosexuals are complaining that you don’t have a golden cup and seat at the table. Listen, in America, you are allowed to exist without persecution. Any other right that you request is another step towards the hedonistic values that contributed

[Salon Books] Kurt Vonnegut’s POW nightmare: Inside the World War II battle that shaped “Slaughterhouse Five”
Private First Class Vonnegut prepared to die. At the bottom of a snowy hollow, he fixed his bayonet and waited, huddled in a group of roughly fifty soldiers. Their unit, the 423rd, had been at battle for three days, since December 16. They’d been lost for most of it. They must be somewhere in

[The Millions] An Infinity in Reading
“Calling yourself depressed when you’re a writer seems so redundant.” On a Year in Reading Infinite Jest with Anna Fitzpatrick at Hazlitt. Be sure to check out the new fan-designed cover for the twentieth anniversary edition of Infinite Jest.

[Salon Books] “I tell myself I will quit bingeing when I get diabetes”: Tales of a sugar addict
I awaken after yet another night of debauchery. A bag of Pepperidge Farm chocolate-filled Milano cookies, two sesame bagels with peanut butter, a bag of peanut M&M’s, a pint of mint chocolate chip, and cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Real cheese, though. Not the fake Velveeta crap. I was

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Money Bowl
Two books probe the enormous commercial appeal of college football

[Salon Books] We need new Noam Chomskys: Here’s how we revitalize liberal intellectualism, battle the right’s Koch-funded idea machine
Stanford, like many universities, maintains full employment for humanities professors by requiring new students to take their seminars. My heart burning with the pain of societal injustice, I chose the one on “Freedom, Equality, Difference.” Most of the other students had no particular interest

[Bookslut] The Wrong Place, the Right Place
Yesterday I ate oranges and drank wine and re-read Brecht Evens’s graphic novel The Wrong Place. My copy is seven years old, purchased from Chicago Comics with money I made writing about music. I’d paid rent and groceries and had...

[Bookslut] An Interview with Helle Helle
Helle Helle is often considered Denmark's most popular writer. Her books are bestsellers as well as critically acclaimed and prize winning. She is a master at the incremental in literature. Her artful, nearly imperceptible pivots in plot are curiously affecting....

[Bookslut] The Spectacle of Skill by Robert Hughes
hughes robert spectacle of skill

[The Millions] Ocean’s 2016
Who among us hasn’t ever considered turning to jewel thievery and the heisting lifestyle during some of our weaker moments? Over at The Daily Beast, Geoff Manaugh takes a look at why we all secretly dream of becoming jewel thieves. If you enjoyed this heist story but you found it lacking in

[Salon Books] Marilynne Robinson talks religion, fear and the American spirit: “The left, at a basic level, lost courage, because they don’t know how to deal with the proclaimed religiosity of the other side”
It makes sense that Barack Obama would describe Marilynne Robinson as one of his favorite novelists. Like a great politician, Robinson has a knack for making the small details of American life seem freighted with cosmic significance. Unlike a politician, Robinson works in a lonely profession, and in

[Bookslut] The Black Box by Alek Popov, translated by Daniella and Charles Edward Gill de Mayol de Lupe
popov alek black box

[Bookslut] War, So Much War by Mercè Rodoreda, translated by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent
rodoreda merce war so much war

[Bookslut] Tristano Dies: A Life by Antonio Tabucchi, translated by Elizabeth Harris
tabucchi antonio tristano dies

[Bookslut] Ostend: Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth, and the Summer Before the Dark by Volker Weidermann, translated by Carol Brown Janeway
weidermann volker ostend

[The Millions] Theories of the Brain
Recommended (Heavy) Reading: A mind-bending interview with Kathinka Evers at 3:AM Magazine on the increasingly important field of “neuroethics.” Neuroethics is, in essence, “the study of the questions that arise when scientific findings about the brain are carried into

[Salon Books] “Polygamy stunts a woman’s mind”: “The Sound of Gravel” author Ruth Wariner on her fundamentalist Mormon childhood, becoming a feminist and life after leaving the church
Growing up in Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, a fundamentalist Mormon colony six hours south of the New Mexico border, Ruth Wariner rarely felt safe. She was 3 months old in 1972 when her father, Joel LeBaron, the head of the polygamist Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times, was brutally

[Bookslut] The Astonishment Tapes: Talks on Poetry and Autobiography with Robin Blaser and Friends by Robin Blaser
blaser robin astonishment tapes the

[Bookslut] Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College: 1933 - 1957 edited by Helen Molesworth, with Ruth Erickson
molesworth helen leap before you look

[Salon Books] Here’s how we fix law school: This is the real-world training future lawyers need
The first year of law school, usually so different from the student’s previous educational experiences, is bound to make a lasting, indeed a lifelong, impression.The first-year program at most law schools is demanding, though less than it used to be; current tuition levels tend to induce law

[Bookslut] Justice by Tomaž Šalamun, translated by Michael Thomas Taren
salamun tomaz justice

[The Millions] You Know the Story
“Storytelling is an indispensable human preoccupation, as important to us all—almost—as breathing. From the mythical campfire tale to its explosion in the post-television age, it dominates our lives. It behooves us then to try and understand it.” On the inherent sameness of stories

[Salon Books] The omnivore’s contradiction: That free-range, organic meat was still an animal killed for your dinner
The primary problem with condemning factory farming while continuing to eat animals from nonindustrial sources comes down to this basic point: doing so demands selective moral consideration. This is another way of saying that eating “humanely” raised animals requires a double standard, with

[Salon Books] Hunter S. Thompson’s son shocker: “Hunter was surprised and pleased that I actually grew up apparently sane”
When Conan O’Brien tried to get Hunter S. Thompson to appear on his talk show, the writer would only agree to a segment if they went to upstate New York to shoot guns and drink hard liquor. Featuring his most famous proclivities, firearms and whisky, it’s a classic Thompson moment, a television

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Why Ronald Reagan read Tom Clancy
A British intelligence file kept secret until last week reveals that President Reagan boned up for his meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1986 nuclear-disarmament talks in Iceland by reading Tom Clancy’s novel Red Storm Rising. The president thought Clancy’s Cold War thriller, which imagines

[Salon Books] Oil drives our Israel policy: New government documents reveal a very different history of America and the Middle East
The role of the United States in the Arab-Israeli conflict is an inextri­cable part of history in this region. Confronting that role is indispens­able to understanding both U.S. policy in the conflict and its course. A knowledge of the foundation of U.S. policy in the Middle East in the postwar

[The Millions] Most Anticipated: The Great 2016 Book Preview
We think it’s safe to say last year was a big year for the book world. In addition to new titles by Harper Lee, Jonathan Franzen, and Lauren Groff, we got novels by Ottessa Moshfegh, Claire Vaye Watkins, and our own Garth Risk Hallberg. At this early stage, it already seems evident this

[Bookslut] An Interview with Mitchell Abidor
In March 1871, after France lost the war against Prussia, the French army was driven out of Paris, leaving the city in the control of the National Guard and its citizens who formed the Commune, a democratically elected council...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Are Americans losing faith in democracy?
A surprising number of Americans endorse violence against the government

[Bookslut] The Art of Publishing in an Age of Immediacy: On Roberto Calasso and Sven Birkerts
Year after year, young people armed with good intentions and liberal arts degrees attempt to find jobs in book publishing. Having worked directly in the field for over a decade, I've transitioned from that bright-eyed young person to a...

[Guardian Books Blog] Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme – serious frivolity
To give somebody these genre-bending short stories is to bestow on them a new sense of fiction’s possibilitiesGuardian Witness: which books do you love to share?Read more in our ‘A book to share’ seriesI first came across Barthelme at university, as I am sure is the case with many others. Like

[Bookslut] An Interview with Luc Sante
Luc Sante's newest book, The Other Paris, is not his first exploring the underbelly of a city from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. The last, Low Life, was published in 1991, and although the only difference in their projects...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Always a token
Adjudicating between the mere-difference and the bad-difference

[The Millions] A is for Art is for Activist
Art is activism! Here’s an exciting look at some creative humanitarian art projects happening around the world, from sandbag subterfuge to cellphone camera-wielding teenagers. Academic activism is not without its charms, as well.

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