The headliners this week are on the non-fiction side: Michael Pollan’s Cooked and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Also new in non-fiction: Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by the Times’ Brian Stelter and Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. In fiction: The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson, The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard, Paris by Edward Rutherfurd, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, and The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley.
Literary prizes are nothing new, but prizes that give writers real estate are a thoroughly modern development. At Salon, Michele Filgate investigates our odd new economy, in which lucky writers win leases to homes, inns and (in one case) a goat farm. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on the Amtrak residency.
It seems to be true that everyone has an opinion on Donald Trump. In private letters now up for auction, Harper Lee compared Trump’s Atlantic City Taj Mahal resort to hell on earth. Pair with Gabriel Brownstein’s recent essay on Trump as reality turned to cliche.
In case you missed it: JK Rowling just released a new Harry Potter short story on her own promotional website. Before you get too excited: the New Republic is less than sanguine, calling it “a marketing scam.” (Code for: not very good writing?) Which is not going to keep me from reading it anyway. Readers with more restraint might note that “You don’t have to be a Barthesian grad student to chafe at Rowling’s impulse to clarify the words on the page.” (Pair with our discussion of fan fiction and the afterlife of literature.)
There’s a quiet war being waged against Wyoming’s wild horse population, reports The Altantic‘s Andrew Cohen.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a book that was at once so bold in style and ambitious in structure and so much fun to read.” The Guardian asks indie publishers about the books that made their year, including Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue (whose own Year in Reading you can find here).