The finalists for the John Leonard Prize — for a first book in any genre — were announced by the National Book Critics Circle. This year’s finalists are Lesley Nneka Arimah‘s What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, Julie Buntin‘s Marlena, Zinzi Clemmons’ What We Lose, Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, Carmen Maria Machado‘s Her Body and Other Parties, and Gabriel Tallent‘s My Absolute Darling. The winner will be announced in January. Pair with: Buntin’s 2017 Year in Reading entry.
The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
The Missouri Review interview with Jessa Crispin, founder of Bookslut. If you’ve yet to stumble upon the decade old literary blog, you might want to start with this recent post from Kevin Frazier on Edith Wharton and Julian Barnes. Or this treat from the archives about Monica McFawn Robinson trying to construct an undergraduate course syllabus on love.
As part of their ongoing effort to steer folks away from bad journalism, the folks at The Morning News are running a series on reading news wisely. This week, Brendan Fitzgerald takes a look at misleading headlines, urging readers to “let headlines pique your curiosity, but be sure journalists deliver.”