The gorgeous paperback edition of our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s A Field Guide to the North American Family is now out. Also new and noteworthy are Francisco Goldman’s New Yorker excerpted story of the death of his young wife Say Her Name, Meg Wolitzer’s The Uncoupling, Ann Packer’s Swim Back to Me, Blake Butler’s There is No Year, and Phillip Connors’s intriguing debut, Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. Elsewhere, we’ve got Tina Fey’s raved about memoir Bossypants and a new and long in the works biography of Malcolm X, whose author, Manning Marable died just last week on the eve of the book’s publication. Finally, now out in paperback is the fiction blockbuster The Help.
Last week, I wrote about Caleb Crain’s entry in By Heart, a series at The Atlantic in which prominent writers talk about their favorite passages. Now, & Sons author David Gilbert talks about Moby Dick, which he says is “one of a few books [he’s] dreamed about.”
William Stuntz's book The Collapse of American Criminal Justice investigates "how, over the past 50 years, our criminal justice system had been transformed into an unfair, amoral bureaucracy--one that had given up on the very idea of justice." Its genesis is worth reading about. So, too, is this related article in the most recent edition of n+1, "Raise the Crime Rate."
There are three kinds of readers of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: those who feel some niggling guilt about that brick on their bookshelf, those who've read it (proudly) but secretly may have no idea what happened in that tangled ending, and the people responsible for this excellent infographic. (Complement with cached commentary at Infinite Summer and a guide to the geography of Wallace's Boston.)
Following the release of Before Midnight, the new installment in Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy of films, Michelle Orange takes another look at Linklater's 2001 movie Waking Life. (In case you don't remember the film’s trippy style, here’s a clip.)