Amazon released their annual Best Books of the Year: Top 100 in Print list today (as well as a free and helpful Reader’s Guide), and numerous Millions favorites made the cut. Both George Saunders’s Tenth of December and Philipp Meyer’s The Son cracked the top 10. We reviewed both here and here, respectively. Other notable books boasting extensive Millions coverage include Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings (review), George Packer’s The Unwinding (review), Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (review), Dave Eggers’s The Circle (review), James Salter’s All That Is (review), Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove (interview), Stuart Nadler’s Wise Men (review), Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic (review), and Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary (review). Meanwhile, the top spot belongs to Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
The New York Times dives into why prisons fear the New Jim Crow certain states have gone to great efforts to allow their prisons to ban it and in other states it’s fairly difficult to obtain if you’re a prisoner. We’re big fans of the New Jim Crow here; it was a Millions staff pick and extremely popular on Year in Reading lists back in 2013.
Though Franzen would surely argue (in great excess of 140 characters) to the contrary, the excellent introductory essay from the latest issue of N+1 lauds Twitter for “the very last thing to have been expected from the internet: a renovation of the epigram or aphorism, a revaluation of the literary virtues of terseness and impersonality.”
Self-styled music critic Patrick Bateman, the protagonist of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho, certainly had a lot to say about 80s mainstays like Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News. Over at The New Inquiry, J. Temperance argues for Steve Winwood as Patrick Bateman’s musical doppelgänger. Go ahead and take a look at this essay by Bill Morris of The Millions on The Canyons, a film for which Ellis wrote the screenplay.
Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries (recently reincarnated as HBO’s True Blood), talks with Barbara Peters of the Poisoned Pen Press and Bookstore for her interview series “The Criminal Calendar.” See the first of six YouTube installments here. Harris, like her most famous heroine, offers a mix of canny intuition and folksy charm. Asked about the bisexuality of one very old vampire in “the Sookie-verse” she answers Peters, “I figure if you live that long, you might as well diversify. Wouldn’t you get bored, you would think–you’d be willing to try anything if you live that long.”
“What those who care about books must appreciate is that the boundaries between canonical and noncanonical have never been ironclad in African-American literature.” Clark C. Cooke writes for the LA Review of Books on black crime fiction and the rise of a “new African-American literary scene.”