Amazon announced that on Christmas day it sold more Kindle ebooks than regular books (and that the Kindle is not the site’s most popular gift ever). Chadwick Matlin outlines at The Big Money the reasons why the Christmas day surge in ebook sales don’t matter. The New York Times suggests each new version of the Kindle may be getting worse, and separately dubs 2010 the “Year of the Tablet.”
The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
Here’s a book that’s sure to be included in our second-half installment of our Most Anticipated books: Zadie Smith’s NW, which traces the lives of several people who make it out of one of Northwest London’s housing estates. The promotional copy calls it a “delicate, devastating novel of encounters.”
Year in Reading alum Helen Oyeyemi has a new novel on shelves this week, as does New Yorker 20 Under 40 honoree Dinaw Mengestu. Also out: Mount Terminus by David Grand; Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley; Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun and Beauty by Frederick Dillen.
The Portable Story Series is accepting submissions to their inaugural contest, judged by Year in Reading alumna Kate Christensen. The theme is hunger, the genre is fiction, the word count is 2000-4000 words, and the deadline is March 28, 2016. The contest benefits three charitable organizations.
This week, Richard Ford published his first novel in a while to feature Frank Bascombe, the protagonist of his Pulitzer-winning book The Sportswriter. At Salon, our own Lydia Kiesling posits a through-line from Bascombe to a certain TV gangster, arguing that The Sopranos shares its view of manhood with Ford’s novels. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on Ford’s 2012 book, Canada.