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.
The second round of the Tournament of Literary Sex Writing, the aptly-named Erotic Eight, has kicked off over at The Literary Hub. This round is home to some downright ridiculous pairings (I’m looking at you, “Bram Stoker vs. James Baldwin as judged by Roxane Gay“) and the judges are as careful and attentive as ever.
The true confessions of Lev Grossman, book reviewer: “There was a time when I actually believed, because I was an ass, that as a critic I was an avenging angel with a flaming sword, and that part of my job was to help rid the culture of books that were sucking up more of the literary oxygen than they deserved.”
We’ve been discussing the changing nature of the English language a lot here this week (from the rise of public English to the acceptance of “like”), but if there is one thing that’s consistent in language, it’s the word “huh.” Linguists have studied 31 languages that all contain the interjection, making it one of the first universal words.
Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the largest Yakuza faction, has decided to start its own magazine focused on “haiku poetry, articles on the innocent pursuit of angling and entreaties to its readers to perform good works” among other things. Related: recently photographer Christopher Jue journeyed with People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry into the four-story headquarters of the Kudō-kai.
Shakespeare is required reading for the would-be literary scholar, yet with so many articles, books and monographs on the Bard in circulation, it might be time to ask: have English professors finally said all there is to say?
At Read by Famous, you can purchase secondhand books and know their previous owners—actors, comedians, athletes. There’s one week left in the auction, and all of the proceeds benefit charities. Pair with our own Jacob Lambert’s thoughts on thirty minutes at a used book sale.