A big week for books: Zadie Smith’s NW is out (read the first lines), as is Christopher Hitchens’s Mortality, a collection of essays penned while he fought cancer (our essay on Hitchens’ death) (his collection Arguably is out in paperback today). More new books: Emma Straub’s Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Umberto Eco’s essay collection Inventing the Enemy, Davy Rothbart’s essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot, Frederick Seidel’s poetry collection Nice Weather, documentarian Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, and the Navy Seal book about the bin Laden mission. Also, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is now out in paperback (read Eugenides on the book’s genesis), as is Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer winner The Swerve.
"Imaginary Oklahoma" is an ongoing platform at This Land Press in which "some of today's most important and influential writers combine with artists from outside the state [of Oklahoma] to provide a fictional take on this place we call home." New Yorker editor, author of Celebrity Chekhov, and chart enthusiast Ben Greenman has written a piece entitled "Always and Forever."
It goes without saying that Hitler is a taboo subject in Germany, which is why it’s remarkable that a German novelist, Timur Vermes, has caused a sensation with his book about a time-travelling Fuhrer. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews the first English translation of Look Who's Back. You could also read Merve Emre on Ben Urwand’s book about Hollywood and the Nazis.
The kind folks at the PEN American Center recorded Colum McCann’s recent conversation with author and soccer ace Aleksandar Hemon. Listen to the pair discuss the Western distinction between fiction and non-fiction, and also the hypothetical merits of “watching a potato.”