Recommended Reading: Kevin Brockmeier’s essay “Dead Last Is a Kind of Second Place” at The Georgia Review. “Someone at school has been stealing people’s lunches from their lockers—including, for the fifth time now, his. He needs a new plan, since obviously the potato chips didn’t work.” For more Brockmeier, check out our review of his novel The Illumination.
Somehow we knew that Gary Shteyngart had a pretty interesting childhood. As Andy Borowitz explains in a review of Little Failure, the author’s new memoir, the elder Shteyngart regaled his son with “outlandish” stories, most notably “a sci-fi saga about a Jewish planet under constant attack by volleys of pork.” You can learn what the author likes to read today in his Year in Reading piece.
Today arrives Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, Lacuna, “an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover.” Also out are a couple more of those nifty “Olive Editions” from HarperCollins, this time of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Update: There’s a new edition of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation too.
“In a genre that has long been dominated by white men and Western mythological tropes, Ms. Okorafor’s stories, which feature young black girls in starring roles as superheroes and saviors of humanity, have been hailed as groundbreaking.” The New York Times shines a spotlight on Nnedi Okorafor and other African American science fiction and fantasy writers building on -and popularizing-a tradition of African and African American folklore in the sci fi and fantasy genre.
“The books that I remember best are the ones I stole in Mexico City, between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, and the ones I bought in Chile when I was twenty, during the first few months of the coup.” The New York Review of Books Blog posts an essay by — you guessed it — Roberto Bolaño.
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)
The folks at Harper’s Bazaar (not Harper’s Magazine) are launching a new short story competition, and the grand prize is wild: an all-expenses-paid weeklong stay on a private Scottish island, publication in the May 2014 issue of the magazine and a first-edition book from the Asprey’s Fine and Rare Books Department, worth up to £3,000. (And yes, that’s pounds, not dollars.)