Steven Millhauser’s new collection We Others is out this week, as are Hisham Matar’s Anatomy of a Disappearance and Alex Shakar’s Luminarium. Here at The Millions, Shakar recently offered the harrowing story of the publication of his first novel. Alexandra Fuller has a new memoir out. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness. and foodies are celebrating with 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering.
Last night at the General Assembly, the working group of drummers, Pulse, in a spirit of conciliation and generosity, brought forward a proposal to limit their drumming from 12 to 2 and 4 to 6 pm only.
Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore just launched a First Editions Club where members get a signed first edition of a new book each month. Some recent selections include: George Saunders’s Tenth of December (our review), Jonathan Dee’s A Thousand Pardons (our review), and Philipp Meyer’s The Son.
“The literature by Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans is out there for anyone who knows how to use Google. But so many here and abroad would rather not know, or when a new Vietnamese author is published, would prefer to say, ‘At last! A voice for the Vietnamese!’ In fact, there are so many voices, for the Vietnamese people are very loud.” Pulitzer Prize winner and Year in Reading alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) writes in The New York Times about the diversity of Vietnamese writing, too often ignored in favor of war narratives and the voices of American veterans. (For an incredible syllabus of books to fill in the gaps, see the middle of his piece.)
A new study out of Stony Brook University employs a complex statistical model to figure out what makes a book successful. Judging books on the basis of Amazon sales, awards won and Project Gutenberg downloads, the scientists determined that successful books have a higher-than-average ratio of self-references, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions. Unsuccessful books, on the other hand? A high ratio of adverbs and location markers.