That dictionary sitting on your bookshelf has a more scandalous past than you might think.
"When it comes to the personal essay, we want so much and there is something cannibalistic about our desire. We want essayists to splay themselves bare. We want to see how much they are willing to bleed for us. This desire introduces an interesting tension for essay writers. How much should they bleed, and how much blood should they save for themselves?" Roxane Gay reviews Meghan Daum's The Unspeakable and reflects on the personal essay for The New York Times Book Review. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen's Millions review of the same book.
No surprise here -- Elena Ferrante fever continues to sweep the literary world. Last week, an Italian historian was forced to deny claims that she was actually the Neapolitan novelist. Now, The Guardian takes a look at the unique history of pseudonyms and posits whether Ferrante's mystery might outlast some famous historical masqueraders. For the unacquainted, here's a quick piece on reading Italy through Ferrante's work.
New this week: The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon; A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson; The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato; The Love Object by Edna O’Brien; The New World by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz; Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes; Paris, He Said by Christine Sneed; Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley; and Scavenger Loop by David Baker. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.