Freedom, The Imperfectionists, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet were some of the biggest books of the year, both literally and among our readers. But which one of them could stop a bullet for you? Electric Lit posts a video of the necessary research.
“Thinking about her life is like sifting ashes. You believe you see the clear outline of a message, but it inevitably disintegrates before you can be sure of its sense. The mantle of a ‘rediscovered writer’ has never settled firmly around [her] shoulders; she has a way of resisting the platitudes of remembering.” Michelle Dean on the writer Nella Larsen.
Ever spent the whole day reading The Hunger Games and then found yourself paranoid that a tribute was following you? Don’t worry; you aren’t crazy. Turns out that reading a really gripping novel can cause our brains to believe we are in the body of the protagonist, and this effect can last for days after reading according to a scientific study.
“It can be difficult to talk about Uzbek without soaring into Orientalist flights. ‘O warbling beauty of the steppe!’ I started to write, like a 19th-century lady traveler.” Our own Lydia Kiesling is in the New York Times writing about studying Uzbek and speaking Turkish.
Dwight Garner, writing in the current issue of The New York Times Magazine, laments that so many high-end American novelists seem to be working on “the nine-year plan,” delivering a new novel roughly once a decade. He cites Jeffrey Eugenides, who will be out soon with The Marriage Plot, his third novel in 18 years, along with such slow cookers as Jonathan Franzen, Donna Tartt and Michael Chabon. One name Garner neglected to mention is the Pulitzer Prize-winner William Kennedy, who will be out next month with Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, the eighth installment in his Albany cycle and his first novel since Roscoe appeared nine years and nine months ago. Look for our review of it here next month.