Andrew Marantz reviews R. Kelly’s “breezy” and “revealing” memoir, Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me, for The New Yorker’s book blog, Page-Turner. This might be what they meant when they said they were “rebooting” the Book Bench. (Related: hear Gary Oldman read some passages from the book.)
You may have heard that E.L. Doctorow passed away last week. The Ragtime and Billy Bathgate author was known for his mastery of historical fiction. At The Guardian, Michael Chabon offers a tribute, arguing that Doctorow found a way out of the binary trap between postmodernism and realism.
We know the internet's been full of buzz following the announcement of Chipotle's new burrito lit, but the Los Angeles Review of Books' "Review of Cups" by Maria Bustillos has us laughing. After all, there's nothing like a timely and slightly irreverent review to legitimize a new genre. And for more fun with reviews, be sure to check out The Millions' own "Worst Book Review Ever."
Hari Kunzru wonders whether the recent surge of attention for Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai makes him the latest talisman for the young New York literary elite. Regardless, it's worth revisiting Paul Morton's interview with Krasznahorkai and Adam Z. Levy's review of his latest novel, Sátántangó.
Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is probably the best-known recent example of a memoir that centers on a journey through a harsh landscape. There’s another one that deserves your attention, too -- Kathleen Winter’s Boundless, which tells the tale of the writer’s voyage through the icebound Northwest Passage. At The Guardian, a review of the memoir.
The gulf between Picador and every other publishing house continues to yawn in one major aspect: literary playlists. To honor the release of Dylan Jones’s Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music, Justin Hargett put together a list of his “Favorite Covered Songs!” (Previously: the “Marriage Playlist” for Jeffrey Eugenides)
"While men weren’t looking, women built a genre that tackles love, sex, pleasure, class, money, feminism, masculinity, and equality." Jamie Green writes for Buzzfeed about how romance novels have gotten more feminist over the years (and still getting a happily ever after) and people are now starting to sit up and take notice.
New York Times travel editor Monica Drake recounts visiting Antigua after reading Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place—a sharp critique of tourism and the colonialist narrative around the island. As she puts it, “For all the drama of its history, [...] the beauty of the place, the very thing that bewitches its tourists, renders it a time capsule to its residents.”