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.
If I had been near enough to a computer and had enough time to blog over the last month, I probably would have talked about Nicholson Baker’s new book, Checkpoint. I haven’t read it, so I can only comment on the reactions that I have seen to the book. Most have been negative. The book is about two friends who are sitting in a hotel room having a conversation. One character wants to assassinate President George W. Bush, the other is trying to talk him out of it. The subject matter alone seems to come from a desire to create controversy, and though Baker and his publisher have gone out of their way to condemn violence, Baker has said that he was motivated by his own personal anger to write the book. If you ask me, controversial subject matter + short book (115 pages in this case) + rush to press = literary publicity stunt, and many, including the New York Times agree.Readers of fiction looking for a weekly dose and writers of fiction looking for an audience should check out Weekly Reader, a little website that delivers a story to your inbox every week.Poaching two great links from Arts & Letters Daily: Jonathan Yardley loves Hunter S. Thompson’s new collection of pieces from ESPN.com’s page 2, Hey Rube; and Tibor Fischer discusses the current slate of Booker hopefuls.
A lot of women feel a connection to Cheryl Strayed, but one reader’s connection was personal. Strayed’s lost half-sister found her when she just happened to check out Wild because she liked travel narratives. “She didn’t know anything about me except when she read the description in my book of my early life, my mother and my father, she knew that father was hers, too. I don’t name my father in the book but she recognized him,” Strayed told NPR.
The former Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert–that is, Michael Cooper, the husband Gilbert left at the opening of Eat Pray Love, has apparently written a book about his life after their divorce. Will it ever be published?
Tracy Letts’ outstanding play August: Osage County was tapped for a movie adaptation back in 2010, but the project seemed to fall by the wayside shortly after. Then, last week, Bob Weinstein (of The Weinstein Company) announced the adaptation will begin filming this fall. It’ll star Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. You can read an excerpt from the play on our Tumblr.