Ukraine is investing approximately $61 million in order to “bolster [the nation’s] reading, publishing and bookselling beginning in 2014 and lasting through 2018.” One concern held by Ukranian literati is the rapidly expanding influx of Russian writing, which some claim have been “push[ing] books from Ukrainian publishers and authors off the shelves.” Meanwhile, Russia recently announced a $100 million stimulus package for its own book industry.
Need to know how to tell if someone is or is not dead? How to leave a party gracefully? How to avoid the plague? Luckily the writers of the Middle Ages had a how-to book for everything, even if that advice does include killing bed bugs by “Spread[ing] Gun-powder, beaten small, about the crevices of your bedstead” and then lighting it.
A big week for books: Zadie Smith’s NW is out (read the first lines), as is Christopher Hitchens’s Mortality, a collection of essays penned while he fought cancer (our essay on Hitchens’ death) (his collection Arguably is out in paperback today). More new books: Emma Straub’s Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Umberto Eco’s essay collection Inventing the Enemy, Davy Rothbart’s essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot, Frederick Seidel’s poetry collection Nice Weather, documentarian Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, and the Navy Seal book about the bin Laden mission. Also, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is now out in paperback (read Eugenides on the book’s genesis), as is Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer winner The Swerve.
Recommended recommendations: 21 of the best debut and sophomore works being published this year, compiled by Refinery29. For even more, be sure to check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.