“Mr. [Mark] O’Connell is an intelligent and very funny writer,” says Barton Swaim in The Wall Street Journal. “But Epic Fail will also prompt you to consider how shallow—and ugly—humans can be.” (Bonus: a reference to getting pitted, just so pitted.)
Readers of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature most likely have a good idea of just how much the late Norman Mailer was a wellspring of jokes about writers. The pugilistic novelist, journalist and failed mayoral candidate did choose to title a collection of his work Advertisements for Myself, after all. Yet as Andrew O’Hagan notes in the LRB, it's hard not to admire the cojones on a guy who once told a prominent editor he was “still too young and too arrogant to care to write the kind of high-grade horseshit you print in Harper’s Bazaar."
The popularity of Joshua Katz’s American dialect maps inspired The Atlantic to create their own dialect video. In it, Atlantic staff members call people from across the country, recording them so listeners can hear their accents, and ask them to answer questions from a 2003 Harvard survey.
On behalf of every reader / HBO viewer who has spent days upon days in Westeros and is beginning to get a little anxious for Game of Thrones updates, Entertainment Weekly has spoken with George R. R. Martin himself to confirm publication plans and talk about the television series. That's not to say that Martin is committing himself to any hard and fast schedule, though. "My plan right now is still seven," he says, referencing his A Song of Ice and Fire series. "But first I have to finish Book Six. Get back to me when I’m half-way through Book Seven and then maybe I’ll tell you something more meaningful.”
Meet Shondaland, a new website created by Shonda Rhimes and dedicated to storytelling that launched this week. One of their most recent posts highlights 28 books to read this fall. We know there's a lot of reading recommendation lists around this time of year (like our September preview) but we appreciate the diversity of this list in particular and its willingness to hold back judgment if we don't finish all the suggestions. Pair with our interview with Jesmyn Ward (whose Sing, Unburied Sing made the list), along with Year in Reading alum Eleanor Henderson's Twelve Mile Straight.
New this week: Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser; Gutshot by Amelia Gray; The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy; The Turner House by Angela Flournoy; The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma; The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman; Lurid and Cute by Adam Thirlwell; The Given World by Marian Palaia; The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman; Diamond Head by Cecily Wong; and Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.