Pulitzer-prize winning book critic Michael Dirda joined Reddit and invited the internet to ask him anything; among the highlights—the worst book he’s ever read, an allusion to scoring crack for Hunter S. Thompson, and a picture of Dirda’s cat.
The big, blockbuster book this week is the final installment in the late Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Those just catching on to the Larsson phenomenon can also now get the complete set. Moving on to quirkier fare, there’s The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto, a reprint of a 1950s treatise on drinking with a new introduction by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). And finally, Library of America is putting out a volume of novels and stories by master of gothic fiction, Shirley Jackson.
“Year-end lists are always subjective and incomplete, but they are especially tricky for books. A dedicated film critic can watch every wide release film and a theater critic can go to most every play, but the book critic is faced with an insurmountable mountain of books each year. The sheer number of books is inspiring as a reader, but it can make “best of” lists laughably subjective when the critic has only read a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of books published each year.” This might help to explain the logic and intent of our own Year in Reading series, but it also prefaces Electric Literature‘s list of the top 25 story collections of 2014 (which includes recent Year in Reading alum Phil Klay‘s Redeployment).
Over the past week, the work of three Millions staffers has been shown off for other publications: Mark O’Connell talks Lethem, Dyer and Batuman for Slate; Emily St. John Mandel talks noir for Beyond the Margins; and Garth Risk Hallberg names his selection for this year’s Pulitzer-less Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Lots of anticipated books hitting shelves today. At the top of the list is Michael Lewis’s look at the recent financial calamity, The Big Short. Also new today, Chang Rae Lee’s The Surrendered, Ron Rash’s story collection Burning Bright, Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That, and James Hynes’ Next, about which we have noted some intriguing Twitter buzz. New in paperback are Victor LaValle’s The Big Machine and Dave Eggers’ The Wild Things.