Max’s verdict in the opening round of The Morning News Tournament of Books has been posted. Which book did he pick, Gate at the Stairs or The Book of Night Women? Hop over to TMN to find out. And don’t miss the match commentary, which has some great additional discussion of both books.
“I have a girl brain but in a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way!” The Los Angeles Times reports on an elementary-school teacher reading I Am Jazz, written by transgender teenager Jazz Jennings, with her class; encouragingly, not that many parents freak out. Pair with writer T.K. Dalton reflecting on how to traverse the terrain of books, children, and gender.
“‘I just want to be normal,’ she said, even though she had amazing powers and a super-family and was mega-gorgeous and better than normal in every way and the entire book would be terrible if she were normal and she had no conception of what normal was to begin with.” At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg lists flaws only a protagonist could have.
The Toast has compiled a list of 18th century book titles and they’re almost funny enough to make us wish people still wrote books like them. Standout titles include Astonishment!!!, The History Of A Dog. Written By Himself, And Published By A Gentleman Of His Acquaintance. Translated From The French., and the mysterious The Polish Bandit; Or, Who Is My Bride?
“I first met Dean not long after Tryscha and I hooked up. I had just gotten over a wicked fucking hangover that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with a six-foot-five douchebag and a beer bong… Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see hot LA actress chicks and try In N’ Out burgers, always vaguely planning and never taking off.” – From On the Bro’d, where every sentence of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is retold for Bros. (via The Rumpus)
New this week are Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Dream of the Celt, Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse by Denis Johnson, Living, Thinking, Looking: Essays by Siri Hustvedt, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Team Cul de Sac, a book done in tribute to the great comic done by Richard Thompson and to raise money for research into Parkinson’s, which Thompson was diagnosed with in 2009.
“We look to lovers to heal us, to complete us, to give us the kind of comfort that can only be found in the work that we do inside of ourselves. It’s an inside job, as they say in twelve-step programs.” Talking with Melissa Febos about her memoir, Abandon Me.
“Perhaps it’s a sign that our literary culture is not quite so ailing that Smith managed to make a space for NW, to clear a third path, one that meanders through Willesden, through time, and through the mind.” Our own Emily M. Keeler on realism and Zadie Smith.