New this week: Summer House With Swimming Pool by Hermann Koch; I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin; The Book of Unknown Americans by Year in Reading alum Cristina Henríquez; In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds; The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh; The Girl Who was Saturday Night by Helen O’Neill; and two new books, Paper Lantern and Ecstatic Cahoots, by Stuart Dybek.
Many feared the permanent loss of thousands of precious manuscripts and relics after insurgents razed Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research. The Institute was home to over 30,000 manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. Or was it? In a fascinating report, Rukmini Callimachi details the extraordinary efforts of the some passionate locals that wound up saving much of the collection.
The new media revolution has massacred the book review sections at many national newspapers, but it’s been just as unkind to movie reviewers. At his Salt Lake Tribune blog, Movie Cricket, SLT film critic Sean P. Means keeps a list of all of the movie reviewers who’ve gotten the axe.
“So why should the stories about us always be about the bad stuff? We deserve the romantic comedy, the late night barfly scene, the silly, light-hearted stuff of life reflected back at us.” Camille Perri writes about the need for queer stories that are not rooted in sadness, trauma, or loss. Pair with: an essay on the commercial viability of LGTBQ literature.
Among the better tidbits from Gary Shteyngart’s diary of his book tour for Little Failure is the fact that he’s apparently had fellow Russian immigrants ask him to sign books for “a failed paralegal” and “a worse failure than even you.” If, after reading that, you’d like another dose of Shteyngart, you could do worse than his Year in Reading entry.