Cheryl Strayed’s collection of “Dear Sugar” columns is out this week (read our review). Also out are Our Kind of People by Uzodinma Iweala, The Investigation by Philippe Claudel, True Believers by Kurt Andersen, and The Absolutist by John Boyne. The new edition of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms with all the extra endings is out, as is (just in time for the Olympics) an oral history of the original Dream Team. Donald Ray Pollack’s The Devil All the Time is out in paperback.
“For a while, shortly after I finished an undergraduate creative writing course, everything I wrote started with an observation or a realization…I was going to be an essayist, and it was going to be awesome.” At The Morning News, Martin Connelly writes about how he lost his drive to become an essayist and the surprising thing that makes him want to start again — his daughter. For more on the power of the essay, read our interview with Leslie Jamison.
Barnes & Noble’s newest device, Nook Tablet, was unveiled yesterday. At $249, it’s modestly more expensive than Kindle Fire at $199, but half the price of the iPad, which sells for $499 and up. And from a technological perspective, it may be closer to the iPad. So what will this mean for the last major brick-and-mortar bookseller?
Paula Fox, celebrated novelist and winner of the 1983 National Book Award (among other honors), died this week. Contributing to our Year in Reading series two years ago, Parul Sehgal said she couldn’t stop rereading Desperate Characters, perhaps Fox’s most popular book for adults. “It’s really a wallop of a book,” Sehgal wrote. “A barbed portrait of a marriage, not to mention a brilliant take on gentrification, white fears of black and brown people, the hostile insularity of the nuclear family, and how power reproduces and how power conceals itself.” (Bonus: Dominic Smith wants to send a scene from that novel into space.)
Miranda July – whose new novel, The First Bad Man, is due in January – has developed a smartphone app that “allows one person to deliver a message to another.” The kicker? Someone other than you will deliver the message verbally and in person. (Sounds like she’s probably due before Congress once again.)
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.
A Russian publisher has stooped to a new low: it added “fake quotes from fake newspapers on the cover of a … novel released this summer.” That’s not all, either. Apparently the publishers are trying to bill the book as a “Swedish” crime novel even though it was actually written by a Russian under a pseudonym.