Ta-Nehisi Coates wants to make America less stupid about the Civil War. He recommends five books we should all read to gain a better understanding of American history during this war and assures us that “I’ve tried to think very hard about readability, and to offer books you might actually complete.” So no excuses, start here
Sara Davidson’s Joan: Forty Years of Life, Loss, and Friendship with Joan Didion is an intimate portrait of one of America’s most revered and private writers.
Out this week: Young Skins by Colin Barrett; Decoy by Allan Gurganus; The Unloved by Deborah Levy; Aquarium by David Vann; The Sellout by Paul Beatty; Crow Fair by Thomas McGuane; and Kazuo Ishiguro’s first new novel in ten years (which our own Lydia Kiesling reviewed yesterday). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Jonathan Franzen spent the first half of his life thinking about literature, now he plans to devote the other half to birds. It looks like Freedom is becoming reality as he puts on his bird-watching binoculars again to discuss the “appalling” songbird hunting in the Mediterranean for National Geographic.
“The idea came to Mr. Mallory one night as he sat on his couch watching an old favorite, Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a lamp switch on in the apartment across the street.” Published under a pseudonym, former executive editor Daniel Mallory‘s debut novel The Woman in the Window was acquired and published by his own imprint. Pair with: an essay about the emergence of “reimagined thrillers” that create characters out of setting.