Gary Shteyngart, Philip Pullman, James Wood, and three other literary bigwigs share their book-collecting habits.
A new kind of book review: 5 artists interpret and critique literature through works of visual art.
Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is now out in the U.S. Also new this week are John D’Agata’s much-discussed Lifespan of a Fact, Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians, Ellen Ullman’s By Blood and The Boiling Season by Christopher Hebert, who has an essay up on our site today. The new memoir by Anthony Shadid has seen its release date pushed up to this week. See our remembrance of Shadid. Finally, it’s Christmas for baseball fans: the 2012 Baseball Prospectus is out.
For years, Jang Jin Sung traveled within Kim Jong-il’s inner circle. As North Korea’s official poet laureate, he was tasked with “writing epic poems for [the] dictator … and overseeing inter-Korean espionage.” But in 2004, fearing a charge of treason, Sung fled the country, becoming one of the nation’s most high-profile defectors. Recently, Sung – who just published his memoir – spoke with Maclean’s about his life, his escape, and literature.
“AYN: This house was built in 1835 but, as you can see, the antiquated design elements suggest the work of a second-rate architect in love with the past who never had an original thought in his wasted life.” Go check out the newest episode of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist House Hunters at McSweeney’s.