Lots of anticipated books hitting shelves today. At the top of the list is Michael Lewis’s look at the recent financial calamity, The Big Short. Also new today, Chang Rae Lee’s The Surrendered, Ron Rash’s story collection Burning Bright, Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That, and James Hynes’ Next, about which we have noted some intriguing Twitter buzz. New in paperback are Victor LaValle’s The Big Machine and Dave Eggers’ The Wild Things.
"You’ll engage with your advisor in a free-form dialogue about essential skills such as plotting your next career, pacing your financial ruin, structuring TV binge-watching during optimal writing hours, and characterizing all of this as 'learning how to fail.'" Hey, this new low-competency MFA from the fictitious Half Mast College sounds pretty great. Here's our own Hannah Gersen on why she has foregone the MFA route entirely.
“Historians, I believe, are dedicated to fighting against the tide of our social amnesia. The reason they continue to write books about the Holocaust, or Appomatox, or the earthquake in Haiti, is to try to help us remember the suffering and the extent of the damage. Some try to humanize, and others turn to abstraction.” Stewart L. Sinclair writes on burying the remnants of disaster, over at Guernica. Pair with his Millions essay on technology and Apple’s operating systems.
Friend of The Millions Edan Lepucki has a short story in the most recent LA Times West Magazine, "Salt Lick". Congrats!I've heard of publishers throwing in a free bookmark to help sell copies of a new book, but gold?Oriani Fallaci, the fiery (and athiest) Italian journalist who recently passed away, bequethed her library to a Pontifical university.Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam takes the Sony Reader for a spin and isn't impressed.Did you know that among this year's finalists is the first graphic novel ever to be in the running for a National Book Award? Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese has been given that honor. "I can't say it's a dream come true, because it never even would have occurred to me to dream it. It wasn't in my reality," Yang says.John Hodgman is at it again with one of the more antic Washington Post chats I've ever encountered. (via Books are my only friends)
World-building is an essential part of any story, but what about map-making? At Book Riot, two cartographers explain how they create the maps we see inside books. One cartographer’s perspective: “I really wanted to make a map that could easily be an artifact from the world of the book…. I came up with the idea that the map could be a page ripped from an atlas, and someone had written notes on it.” See also: Rob Goodman’s essay for the reader on world-building and its relationship to reality.