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  • “We break down thirty-nine literary journals and well-respected periodicals, tallying genre, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines to offer an accurate assessment of the publishing world.” This year’s VIDA Count is out.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “In the new environment, science fiction writers needed new formulas – or even better, needed to have the courage to operate without pre-cooked recipes of any sort. In short, science fiction needed to grow up and take on the adult world, in all its messiness and uncertainty.” Ted Gioia pens a paean to sci-fi writers of the 1960s. Among his recommendations (including a reading list of 64 works): Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch, whose larger oeuvre is considered here.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Something you didn’t know you needed in your life: a squad of librarians recreating the “iconic” Vanity Fair Kardashian family photo shoot (via The Digital Reader). Also relevant: Alizah Salario‘s piece about the naming of North West.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnesShadowless by Hasan Ali ToptasStart Without Me by Joshua Max FeldmanThe Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume I; and Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “Located along a private beach on 235 Middle Neck Road, this opulent Gatsby-inspiring estate spans over 5 acres. A mere 25 minutes away from New York City by boat, this home is the perfect scene for a roaring 20s party. Just picture the glitz and glamour of fireworks reflecting across the water at all hours of the night.” For a cool $16.9 million you, too, can live in the home that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald. Pair with our own Sonya Chung on adding The Great Gatsby to her teaching syllabus.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “[T]aken as a whole, the shortlist from which this year’s judges choose their winner tomorrow night is just more evidence of the continued neo-colonial cultural dominance of the UK and the US – the institutions, the power, the money, the contacts.” How to win the Man Booker? According to the numbers, move to London or New York. In case you feel like placing bets anyway, here’s this year’s shortlist.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “It comprises 10 short stories written by Iraqis, all of whom were guided by a simple yet fertile premise: What might Iraq look like a century from now?” The Atlantic review’s Tor’s anthology Iraq + 100 (originally published last year by Comma Press in England), which was released stateside last month—in an attempt to bring visibility to an underrepresented group of writers in America. Read The Millions’ review of the “ambitious short story collection” from March.


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    ~Carolyn Quimby
  • “A book critic working today must contend with a world in which more diverse voices are heard and the traditional gatekeepers have less power to enforce conformity.” LitHub interviewed Kate Tuttle, the president of the National Book Critics Circle, about literary criticism. Read our own Emily St. John Mandel on bad reviews.


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    ~Carolyn Quimby
  • A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it “makes people uncomfortable.” The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association’s “Frequently Challenged Book” list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.


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    ~Carolyn Quimby
  • The Ripped Bodice (the only bookstore in the United States dedicated solely to romance books) released a report looking at the state of diversity in 2016 romance novels. Last year there were only 7.8 published romance novels by writers of color for every 100 books from 20 major romance publishing companies. “Of particular concern is the suggestion, as revealed by the study, that publishers are not reflecting their readership base with any kind of parity. According to Pew Research, black women with college degrees are more likely to read a book than any other group. Since romance readers are approximately 84 percent female, this suggests there is a large swath of the population who don’t see themselves represented in authors or protagonists.” Entertainment Weekly highlights some major takeaways from the survey, read the rest of the appalling stats and then go support romance writers of color.


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    ~Ariana
  • For Electric Literature Jennifer Baker interviews Yahdon Israel who hosts the weekly literary interview series LIT on Youtube. On his inspiration for starting the show; “I watch a great deal of interviews on the Breakfast Club, James Lipton’s Inside the Actors Studio, Sway in the Morning, Hot 97, Between Two Ferns. And the people who are seldom interviewed are writers. In many ways being Black has taught me to notice what isn’t there. That lens lends itself to what I notice about pop culture: We’re missing from the conversation. Better put: We’re not included. And by “we” I mean writers.” Watch the show and subscribe, some interviews include Kaitlyn Greenidge, Claire Messaud, Victor LaValle and Jesmyn Ward.


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    ~Ariana
  • Read our own Kaila Philo’s essay on Toni Morrison’s new book The Origin of Others and then pair it with Nell Irvin Painter’s reflection on ‘Toni Morrison’s Radical Vision of Otherness.’ “Morrison’s history of Othering represents an intervention in history on several fronts. Although the theme of desegregating the literary canon reappears in The Origin of Others, times have changed since Playing in the Dark. Surely thanks to the more multicultural, multiracial canon that Morrison helped foster, no respectable version of American literature today omits writers of color.”


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    ~Ariana

Read More The Millions Top 10 September 2017