Out this week: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes; The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri; Between Friends by Amos Oz; and a new paperback edition of The Round House by Louise Erdrich. For more information on these books and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2013 Book Preview.
Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
The new year is, of course, a time for resolutions, and Electric Literature has collected literary resolutions from Alexander Chee, Year in Reading alum Emily Gould, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, and many more. Coming out of the hectic holiday season, Jonathan Lee‘s resolution seems particularly apt: “My literary new year’s resolution is to read slower. I want to try and re-discover the kind of reading where you savor every page instead of thinking about unread emails, progress through the book, progress through the to-be-read pile, and the quantity of remaining tea bags in cupboard.”
Happy Freedom Day: The work at the center of all the reviews, magazine covers, and even, of course, controversy, has arrived. Jonathan Franzen’s long-awaited novel Freedom hits shelves today. Our review. Also out today is Booker longlister Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Another newly translated Roberto Bolaño is out, The Insufferable Gaucho. As is You Were Wrong by Jamestown author Matthew Sharpe. Finally, fashion fans will dig vintage Japanese prepster handbook Take Ivy.
Do you love poetry, but often wish you were monitored on more government watchlists? Well, now you can scratch both of those itches by purchasing Poetry of the Taliban, a new anthology endorsed by and published on the group’s website. Unsurprisingly, the book has garnered its share of criticism, but as Melville House’s Kelly Burdick notes, it also has a coalition of allies and proponents.
“Yes, he cheated, he cracked up, he was irresponsible and even cruel in the way he marshaled his life for his art. Lowell nonetheless believed that women were his intellectual and artistic equals. He spent most of his life behaving accordingly even as he treated his wives and mistresses so terribly, in romantic terms, that it was almost operatic. That is the puzzle of Robert Lowell and women.” It’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but this piece on the inarguably tumultuous relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick is sure to make you feel something.
For its November issue, Wired asks guest editor President Obama for a list of his 10 essential books. The magazine estimates that reading all of them, including James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Katherine Boo‘s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, will take only eighty-nine hours.