Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in an eight-hour dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. Completed in 1960, and centered around the bloody battle of Stalingrad, the novel was deemed so dangerous by the KGB that the book itself was arrested. BBC’s excited, and all the episodes are available to download.
The bookstore business is supposed to be dying, but Ann Patchett begs to differ. She discussed her independent shop, Parnassus Books, and the future of bookstores for The Daily Beast's "How I Write" series. "I can’t remember the last time I was in a bad bookstore. The future of independent bookstores is strong. We need to be small. The day of the 30,000 square foot bookstore is over, but the day of the 3000 square foot bookstore has arrived." Patchett was also interviewed for The New York Times "By the Book" series, where she said Charlotte's Web had such an impact on her as a kid that she got a pet pig and became a vegetarian.
Read our own Edan Lepucki’s great review of Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids? Then you might want to read Vivian Gornick’s complementary take on the book. In Bookforum, she reads Meghan Daum’s anthology as well as Kate Bolick’s Spinster, placing the two in a broader feminist context.
The Silent History is being billed as a “new kind of novel.” Readers download a free app for their iOS devices and, over a period of six months, the app will deliver brief, serialized installments of an “exploratory novel.” Certain features of the story depend on your geographic location, and readers also have the opportunity to contribute their own features. For a full primer, as well as interview with Eli Horowitz, one of the “key figures” behind the idea, head over to VQR’s website.
Guernica sits down with political cartoonist Ted Rall to talk about his new book, Snowden. “I spent a lot of time drawing Snowden for this book, and I really don’t understand his hair. If I ever meet him, I’m going to request to touch his hair.” For more on cartoons, we reviewed The Best American Comics 2014 (guest edited by Scott McCloud, who we interviewed earlier this year).