Congratulations to our very own Emily St. John Mandel, whose second novel, The Singer’s Gun, is included, along with 19 other books, in the 2010 Indie Next List Highlights. Jason Hafer of Wolfgang Books says: “The Singer’s Gun is a taut, restrained book with a quick hook and a long pull. It is a moving and mysterious work, wholly authentic.”
“We’re going to prove that I can sell more books than Amazon,” Stephen Colbert announced during his show this week. And he’s going to do it by encouraging his audience to purchase California, the new novel by Millions staffer Edan Lepucki. On his website, Colbert has partnered with beloved Portland-based indie Powell’s Books to offer not just Edan’s novel, but also a downloadable pack [PDF] of stickers proudly proclaiming “I DIDN’T BUY IT ON AMAZON.” (For your part, you can also order the book on Barnes and Noble, Word Brooklyn, or your local bookstore and the stickers will still apply.) (Bonus: You can read the first chapter of the book over here.)
Amber Sparks investigates why short stories are overlooked. She writes, “Most people really don’t like short stories. And that includes lots of critics, who often seem to regard short story collections as a warm-up for the real thing.” Pair with Paul Vidich’s Millions piece about the future of the short story.
Recommended Viewing: Year in Reading alumna Rachel Fershleiser’s TED talk “Why I heart the Bookternet” on building reading communities through the internet. “The more tools that we get for communication and collaboration, the more we’re taking reading and writing — these really solitary pursuits — and building communities around them for connection and conversation.”
It’s been a good year for Alfred Hitchcock, what with Vertigo beating out Citizen Kane in the once-a-decade Greatest Movie of All Time poll conducted by Sight and Sound. At Full-Stop, Rachel Baron Singer takes a look at Hitchcock and The Girl, both of which examine “the dark side” of Hitchcock’s genius.
“I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air… But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read.” Alice Munro writes about A Child’s History of England, the first book she ever read.
“I feel nothing. I think: What an ugly place for it to happen. I call it The Accident. I didn’t hear, or see, or feel any of it, or if I did, I stored it somewhere irretrievable even to me.” Gloria Harrison‘s essay “Where the Highway Splits” stuns over at The Rumpus.