Quarry, The final book of Iain M. Banks, who died this month, is now out. Also out: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld, On the Floor by Afric Campbell, and, as an “e-single” spin-off to his bestseller Rules of Civility, Amor Towles is out with Eve in Hollywood.
Sir Frank Kermode, widely acclaimed as Britain's foremost literary critic, died yesterday in Cambridge at the age of 90. Guardian recalls highlights of his eminent career, including inspiring the founding of The London Review of Books, publishing books ranging from works on Spenser and Donne to last year's Concerning EM Forster, and being an acclaimed reviewer: Philip Roth admitted that although he dislikes reading reviews, "if Frank Kermode reviewed my book I would read it."
How do we map our experiences? Where You Are (our review) attempts to answer this but ends up raising an interesting relationship between print and online story space. At Music & Literature, Reif Larsen traces the history of interactive books and contemplates the future of online story space. "Considering print books have been around for over five hundred years, online publishing is still in its infancy. Much of the map remains blank." Pair with: Larsen's essay on the power of the infographic.
John Jeremiah Sullivan has a new essay about animal consciousness – and specifically our understanding thereof – in Lapham’s Quarterly. This effort is more serious and decidedly less terrifying than Sullivan’s last essay about animal agency, “Violence of the Lambs.”
New this week is Jonathan Evison's West of Here, Joyce Carol Oates' memoir A Widow's Story about the death of her husband (this was the source of her recent, quite moving essay in the New Yorker), and the expanded rerelease of Alexander Theroux's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Also new on shelves from NYRB Classics is Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane, with an introduction by Phillip Lopate, who discussed Fontane in our Year in Reading in December.
Recommended reading: Sean Singer reviews Poetry of Witness for The Rumpus and calls for readers to see "poems as ethical and political act[s] in the face of extremity." Pair with selections from editor Carolyn Forché's essay on 20th century poetry of witness.
Well, this is awkward. When the National Book Foundation announced its nominees last week for the Young People’s Literature category of the National Book Awards, they accidentally picked a book called Shine by Lauren Myracle when they really meant to pick Franny Billingsley’s Chime.