The Casual Vacancy, the first novel for adults by J.K. Rowling, is already breaking records for the highest number of preorders this year. To whet your appetite for the book’s release on Thursday, check out Ian Parker‘s new profile in The New Yorker.
Another big, literary title hits shelves today. Tom McCarthy turned heads with Remainder in 2007. Now he’s back with C. Posthumously published is Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey. Also newly released is Sara Gruen’s tale of bonobos and reality television: Ape House, William Gibson’s latest Zero History, and The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass. Culture mavens will be intrigued by The Official Preppy Handbook reboot True Prep. And this week’s intriguing art book is Full Bleed: New York City Skateboard Photography. And in non-fiction, Bob Dylan In America by Sean Wilentz and Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, so compellingly written up in last week’s New Yorker.
The New York Public Library has named five finalists for its inaugural Harriet Tubman prize, which recognizes non-fiction books that explore the topic of slavery. You may also want to revisit our own Edan Lepucki‘s essay from a few years back on slavery in fiction.
The Guardian has a list of its five favorite on-campus novels, including Jeffrey Eugenides‘ The Marriage Plot, which we ran an excerpt of back when it came out, and Donna Tartt‘s The Secret History, whose connections to the academy we’ve also explored on the site.
Victor Hugo, when asked about the other parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy that aren’t the widely-read Inferno, had this to say: “The human eye was not made to look upon so much light, and when the poem becomes happy, it becomes boring.” Ouch. Is this why so many of us haven’t even read Dante, despite his being a kind of cultural icon?