Recommended Reading: The Orphan Master’s Son author Adam Johnson penned a long profile of Kim Jong-Il’s “personal chef, court jester, and sidekick,” and it’s every bit as wild as you’re probably imagining.
On the occasion of the publication of his novel The Madonnas of Echo Park, Brando Skyhorse writes about the decades-long path that got him there and the rules for writing that he devised. (Thanks, Steve)
Friend of The Millions Edan Lepucki has a short story in the most recent LA Times West Magazine, “Salt Lick“. Congrats!I’ve heard of publishers throwing in a free bookmark to help sell copies of a new book, but gold?Oriani Fallaci, the fiery (and athiest) Italian journalist who recently passed away, bequethed her library to a Pontifical university.Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam takes the Sony Reader for a spin and isn’t impressed.Did you know that among this year’s finalists is the first graphic novel ever to be in the running for a National Book Award? Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese has been given that honor. “I can’t say it’s a dream come true, because it never even would have occurred to me to dream it. It wasn’t in my reality,” Yang says.John Hodgman is at it again with one of the more antic Washington Post chats I’ve ever encountered. (via Books are my only friends)
Recently, both Batgirl and the Norse god Thor (as conceived by Marvel) have been updated to suit the times. While DC Comics simply gave Batgirl sensible, combat-appropriate clothing, inspiring happy fan art; “female Thor” has met a mix of excitement and bewilderment. Fittingly, a new piece out at Aeon explores our conflicted desire to see male protagonists in fiction — the Harry Potters and Bilbo Baggins’ of the world — reimagined as women. (Also, because no roundup of imaginary characters is complete without fake social media updates, here’s Thor lamenting the loss of his hammer on Facebook.)
When Electric Literature tells me that Jonathan Lee has “unleashed a literary bombshell of a novel,” I set aside my skepticism of the hyperbolic and give it a look. Lee’s High Dive “asks us to look at the plethora of thought and self-indulgence—that beautiful minutia—that flourishes in an unharmed life, and to consider how much generous freedom there is in nonviolence.”