In the spring of 2006, John Unsworth taught a graduate seminar on “Twentieth-Century American Bestsellers.” It led to one of history’s finest class projects–a browsable database of bestsellers, 337 in all. As with any bestseller lists, you’ll find a range of titles, everything from Thomas Wolfe to Tom Clancy, but click through and find that each entry includes an extremely detailed description of the book’s history (these were compiled by graduate students, after all); a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, and even some ads; and more. It is, in short, bibliophilic crack. (Thanks Craig)
“Eventually, the judicial bureaucracy begins to seem almost as destructive as the rapist.” Domenica Ruta writes on Emily Winslow’s Jane Doe January and Joanna Connors’ I Will Find You, two books that probe our culture’s failure to address sexual violence. Pair with a piece on poetry as a response to sexual violence.
Purveyor of popular nonfiction Erik Larson has a new book out this week, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. The Snowman by Jo Nesbø is a new entry in the increasingly popular Scandinavian thriller genre. Inward-looking graphic novelist Chester Brown's latest, Paying for It is out, and musician and actor Steve Earle can now add "novelist" to his resume with the release of I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive. And new in paperback are a pair of big books, Brady Udall's The Lonely Polygamist and Karl Marlantes's Matterhorn.
Neurotic writers or friends-of-writers are likely to have asked themselves an uncomfortable question: do the writers I know use my foibles for material? At The New Statesman, Oliver Farry lists a number of proofs that they do, citing Dante’s Inferno, Madame Bovary and Beckett’s debut novel Murphy.