New this week are Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Dream of the Celt, Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse by Denis Johnson, Living, Thinking, Looking: Essays by Siri Hustvedt, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Team Cul de Sac, a book done in tribute to the great comic done by Richard Thompson and to raise money for research into Parkinson’s, which Thompson was diagnosed with in 2009.
Last semester, at UC Riverside, the novelist Susan Straight began the class “Mixed-Race Literature and the American Experience” with a simple question: “How many of you are often asked, What are you?” In an essay about the class, she relates what they learned, which includes the observation that hair is weirdly important in America. (Related: The Millions published an essay by Straight on Toni Morrison's Sula.)
What’s behind the rise of the new-adult genre of fiction? You could blame the rise of Millennials, but that would be, as Emily Landau argues in a piece for the Canadian magazine The Walrus, too cheap and reductive to really answer the question. Instead, she says that we should look at NA as fundamentally similar to YA, with the main difference being that NA books portrays characters on the cusp of independence. (Related: we polled a group of high school students to find out their favorite YA books of 2013.)
Following a recent essay on the value of ambivalence, our own Mark O’Connell explores the nature of confidence in this week’s New York Times Magazine. Perhaps not surprisingly, he writes that this year’s Web Summit convinced him that tech moguls are congenitally more confident than writers.
"The French government classifies books as an 'essential good,' along with electricity, bread and water." And who could blame them?
Stony Road Press has teamed up with the James Joyce Centre to release a limited edition handmade book, “reproducing the original 1914 text” of “The Dead,” and featuring really interesting hand printed illustrations by Robert Berry. Check out some examples here, here, and here.
How do you describe the life and times of John Horne Burns? He was in turn a military intelligence officer, a schoolteacher, a critical darling after he published The Gallery, a pariah after he published anything else, and a gay man in post-WWII America. In characteristic concision, Ernest Hemingway summed the whole thing up thusly: “There was a fellow who wrote a fine book and then a stinking book about a prep school, and then he just blew himself up.”