John Steinbeck’s son criticizes the state of Texas for invoking Of Mice and Men‘s Lennie Small, in ruling that certain mentally retarded individuals can be sentenced to the death penalty. The great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville wonders where her great-great-great-grandfather’s editor was when he wrote Moby Dick.
New this week: A Hundred Thousand Words by Bob Proehl; Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner; The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro; The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam; The Swan Book by Alexis Wright; The Life of the World to Come by Dan Cluchey; and Mortal Trash by Kim Addonizio. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
V.S. Naipaul (seemingly a professional misogynist at times) rankled many by suggesting there are no women writers that can equal him and calling Jane Austen "sentimental." Now the Guardian offers up a quiz that challenges readers to identify the gender of an author simply by reading a passage of his or her writing.
"I am not influenced by books. Instead, I am shaped by them. I am made of flesh and bone and blood. I am also made of books. " Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, which we reviewed here, and Bad Feminist, takes a new, thoughtful spin on a Facebook trend in an essay for BuzzFeed.