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Top Book Blogs 10/2016

[Salon Books] Breaking point: America approaching a period of disintegration, argues anthropologist Peter Turchin
Unrest in Charlotte, NC, September 20, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Adam Rhew) As the 2016 campaign reaches fever pitch, the more heat there is and the less light is shed. Which is why evolutionary anthropologist Peter Turchin’s new book comes as such a breath of fresh air. “Ages of Discord:

[The Millions] Slow Down, September!
There was a lot going on this September. Luckily, the good folks over at The Literary Hub have provided us with this helpful list of five of the best new books September had to offer. A personal favorite includes Emily Donoghue’s The Wonder, in which the protagonist appears to be subsisting

[The Millions] Not To Be Confused With Sparkles
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the “Ted Wilson Reviews the World” series over at Electric Literature. This week, he takes on everyone’s (least?) favorite confection — sprinkles. Unsurprisingly, sprinkles score a bit higher than Anxiety did a couple weeks

[The Millions] Softcore No More
“Pornography has changed unrecognizably from its so-called golden age—the period, in the sixties and seventies, when adult movies had theatrical releases and seemed in step with the wider moment of sexual liberation, and before V.H.S. drove down production quality, in the eighties. Today’s

[The Millions] Paging Elena Whoever
Is it possible to share something with a “maybe don’t read this” tag attached? The literary internet has been buzzing today over the moral implications of stripping a writer (and, by association, a human) of their anonymity after this piece on Elena Ferrante was published in the

[The Millions] October Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated (This Month)
We wouldn’t dream of abandoning our vast semi–annual Most Anticipated Book Previews, but we thought a monthly reminder would be helpful (and give us a chance to note titles we missed the first time around).  Here’s what we’re looking out for this month — for more

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Elena Ferrante unmasked?; Angela Davis endorses Clinton
In an article published yesterday in the New York Review of Books Daily blog (and simultaneously in publications in Italian, German, and French), the investigative reporter Claudio Gatti states that “after a months-long investigation,” he has uncovered information that strongly suggests the true

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Taking on Trump
Even if Trump is only fascistic rather than a fascist, that's more than scary enough

[The Millions] Ferrante Furor
In case you missed it, this past weekend The New York Review of Books likely outed the author who’s been writing under the nom de plume of Elena Ferrante. Condemnation was fast and furious, including pieces by n+1 and this fantastic Twitter thread by critic Lili Loofbourow. We join the

[The Millions] Beautiful Banned Books
This is cool: in celebration of last week’s Banned Books Week, Chapel Hill Public Library held a competition for local artists to create new work based on books that have been banned or challenged. Trading cards were printed from the winning selections, which you can see along with a gallery

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The most shocking part
Very awkward now

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "Writings on the Wall" | Talks at Google

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Music technology has changed
When you listen to music, you're never alone

[Salon Books] Outing Elena Ferrante: We have very little to gain by removing the Italian novelist’s anonymity
Are there some things we’re better off not knowing? In the age of calls for political transparency, of the dominance of TMZ and endless celebrity news, of the constant tweeting by celebrities on their most pedestrian thoughts, it’s hard to make a case that anything can or should be kept secret.

[Salon Books] Bruce Springsteen’s “Chapter & Verse”: A close read of the companion album to his memoir “Born to Run”
Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., July 3, 1981. (Credit: AP) To accompany the release of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born To Run” is the companion album “Chapter & Verse.” The record consists of a dozen of his well-known songs, as well as five

[Salon Books] The Book of Bruce: “Born to Run” is the Springsteen Bible fans have been waiting for
Cover detail of "Born to Run" (Credit: Simon & Schuster) Bruce Springsteen’s legendary concerts aren’t for the faint of heart, the cynical, or the disbelievers. If the man asks you to put your arms in the air, well, you better put your arms in the air. If he asks you to give him a train, well,

[The Millions] Frank Ocean and the Black Male Body
R.I.P. Trayvon, that nigga look just like me –Frank Ocean, “Nikes” That looks like a bad dude … -A Tulsa police officer, on the body of Terence Crutcher 1. I can’t stop thinking about the video footage shot from above the highway where Terence Crutcher died in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you

[The Millions] Tuesday New Release Day: Alameddine; Palacio; Semple; Lianke; French; Chang; Zink
New this week: The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine; The Mortifications by Derek Palacio; Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple; The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke; The Trespasser by Tana French; The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang; and Nicotine by Nell Zink. For more on these

[The Millions] Welcome, Ismail!
The Millions is thrilled to welcome a new staff writer, Ismail Muhammad, whose first piece for the site publishes today. (You may have seen Ismail’s work at Zyzzyva and the Los Angeles Review of Books previously.) He splits his time between Los Angeles and Oakland, where

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Bluebeard
What is it we want from our authors? Too much, and of the wrong sort. A writer publishes seven novels and we ask that she sit for a picture. She signs with the name she chose for herself, but we want the one on her passport.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: If you're voting for a third-party candidate
Voting third party in this presidential election isn't merely impractical, it's unprincipled

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Outrage continues over Ferrante doxing; Arundhati Roy announces new novel
Arundhati Roy has sold her second novel to Penguin Random House—almost two decades after the publication of her first novel, The God of Small Things. In the time between her two works of fiction, Roy has written numerous books of nonfiction and essays, including Capitalism: A Ghost Story and Field

[The Millions] The World According to Junot
“There’s a deep tendency in our society to view mainstream status quo literature as having no politics, which is completely untrue. It has a very strong political value; it just happens to be conservative.” Junot Díaz drops some knowledge in an interview with Vox. Pair with

[Book Forum] VIDEO: What Drives Trump Supporters?: Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Why and what
What's the unifying theme?

[The Millions] “A Killed B”: The Millions Interviews Tana French
The Trespasser is the sixth book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, each of which focuses on a different detective. The Trespasser brings back detectives Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conway from The Secret Place to investigate the murder of a young woman who appears to have been killed

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The backlash on trade
Is globalization bad for the global poor?

[The Millions] Twenty Years in the Wilderness
“I think that every novelist of the kind of novels that I write has in them maybe one really good book, but the trouble with so many novelists is that they keep on writing novels even when they run out of ideas.” Forrest Gump author Winston Groom on why it’s taken him 20 years to

[Salon Books] Salon’s author questionnaire: “Sometimes people say the writing is good to subtly suggest that everything else is bad”
For the first round of fall books, I posed a series of questions — with, as always, a few verbal restrictions — to five authors with new books: Jade Chang (“The Wangs vs. the World”); Deni Ellis Béchard (“Into the Sun”); Derek Palacio (“The Mortifications”);

[The Millions] Happy Ministries
Fans of Arundhati Roy are celebrating at the news that the author will publish a new novel, her first in 20 years, reports Electric Literature; The Ministry of Utmost Unhappiness is scheduled for release in 2017. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg maaaaay have poked a bit of fun a few years back at the

[The Millions] Run the Jewels
“I fought the urge to throw up in my hands as I asked myself, ‘How the fuck did I get here?’” When you’re a jewel mule, as Kayli Stollak describes in this piece for The Establishment (via Narratively), going through customs can be a little stressful. For more lurid tales of

[The Millions] “I’m Not Entirely Demented”: The Millions Interviews Nell Zink
Nell Zink has been a writer for most of her life, in venues ranging from a DIY zine about punk musicians and their pets to German newspapers. You might not have heard of the 52-year-old writer prior to 2014, but there’s a good chance that you recognize her name now. She released two of the best

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Running for president
The seven harms of Donald Trump

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Adam Kirsch on Elena Ferrante and cultural appropriation; Nicholson Baker on memory
Poynter talks to David Fahrenthold, the Washington Post reporter whose articles on Donald Trump’s mishandling of charitable funds resulted in his foundation’s suspension and investigation by the New York attorney general. Fahrenthold credits social media with helping him find some of Trump’s

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Bob Mehr & Jon Wurster | Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Now you know
It's good to not know stuff

[The Millions] The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart
1. In 2011, I spent Bloomsday at Shakespeare and Company, the famous English bookstore on the Left Bank of Paris. The store is a jewel box: two stories, stacked with books buried beneath more books. On the first floor, a piano room provides a corner for readers to hide in, beneath towering stacks

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Can You Be Black and Republican?
The academic study of black Republicans is booming. Last year, Leah Wright Rigueur, a historian at Harvard, published “The Loneliness of the Black Republican,” a spirited study of conservatism, politics and race. Now we have Joshua D. Farrington’s “Black Republicans and the Transformation of

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Ways to think about the economy
How one bad metaphor leads our economic thinking astray

[Salon Books] America is haunted: “I felt for the first time the weight of the lives that had been lived in these places”
Colin Dickey (Credit: Penguin/John Michael Kilbane) Colin Dickey’s new book “Ghostland” tells what seems like the whole story of the nation through a recounting of haunted houses. Roaming from the Mustang Ranch near Reno, Nevada — a legal brothel in an area dense with tales of

[Salon Books] “Our gang was The Cure”: Lol Tolhurst opens up about growing up with Robert Smith, addiction and redemption
Lol Tolhurst (Credit: Josh Telles) Former Cure drummer-keyboardist Lol Tolhurst makes it very clear from the very start of his new book, “Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys,” out Oct. 11, that it’s a memoir not an autobiography. “You may have heard that some of the events

[The Millions] Rest in Power
“Everyone who’s been reading the manuscript is in tears by the second chapter.” Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, parents of Trayvon Martin, have signed a deal to publish a book titled Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin; its release is scheduled for January 31, 2017. Might

[The Millions] The Empathy Exams
“[G]uess what, spending hours of your spare time plowing through some dense and symbol-laden carnival of affectation and ambiguity only makes you resentful of the publishing industry that pushed the book on you in the first place.” Alex Balk at The Awl takes the piss out of recent

[The Millions] Occupy Author Photo: On Elena Ferrante, Privacy, and Women Writers
Reader looke, Not on his Picture, but his Book — Ben Jonson When I was in my 20s, I used to spend hours at the Strand Bookstore in New York, obsessively gazing at book jacket photos of authors. I was trying to discern something — A key to genius? Or the mere fact that this lucky

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: American Philosophy: A Love Story by John Kaag
“I ate my breakfast—the same banana and toast I’d eaten for a decade,” John Kaag writes in American Philosophy: A Love Story, “and wondered how philosophy had managed to lose its personal character.” In search of an answer, Kaag retreats to the library of William

[Book Forum] SYLLABI: Jack Gross: After Attica

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The looming extinction of humankind
Predictions about the future that should scare the hell out of you

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Endorsements of Hillary Clinton continue; Nell Zink explains the origins of “Nicotine”
Endorsements for Hillary Clinton continue to roll in, the most recent coming from The Atlantic and Vanity Fair. The American Presidency Project’s tally of newspaper endorsements shows that the majority of newspapers have endorsed Clinton—Independent candidate Gary Johnson has three endorsements

[The Millions] 2016 National Book Award Finalists Announced
Book award season enters high gear as the National Book Award finalists have been released. Winners will be announced in New York City on November 16. The short list includes the big fall book by Colson Whitehead and Jacqueline Woodson’s first novel for adults in 20 years. It’s a

[Book Forum] VIDEO: Jim Downs, "Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation"


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