Out this week: a new novel, Dissident Gardens, by Year in Reading alum Jonathan Lethem; Subtle Bodies by Norman Rush; His Wife Leaves Him by Stephen Dixon; Goat Mountain by Year in Reading alum David Vann; Someone by Alice McDermott; and Enon by Paul Harding, which Joseph M. Schuster wrote about for The Millions yesterday.
“These are terrific diversions, but their status next to the book is a little ambiguous. Isn’t using animation to advertise a book a little like using sculpture to promote poetry?” asks Lindesay Irvine in this article about book trailers in The Guardian. If you’re looking for a diversion, this video short based on César Aira‘s Ghosts is certainly worth watching.
While on the publicity tour for his latest book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, Michael Lewis stops by NPR‘s “Fresh Air” to talk Greece, the Euro, California’s “third world problems,” and the Occupy Wall Street protests. The author also gets a nice write-up in the latest New York Magazine, and his interview on last night’s “The Daily Show” ran so long, they had to put the full version online. (Start “The Daily Show”‘s clip at ~21:50 for the interview.)
A new, annotated edition of Mein Kampf is slated for release sometime next week, and it’s already poised to be a bestseller in Germany. The edition, which aims to “unmask his false allegations, whitewashing and outright lies,” will debut at number 20 on the bestseller list after increased demand bumped the initial print run up to 15,000 copies.
On a more optimistic note, New Directions, New York City’s inestimable and long struggling (but “long dazzling!”) publishing house, will be throwing itself a 75th birthday party on Thursday, October 27. (They just redesigned their website and colophon, too.)
Online used book marketplace AbeBooks rounded up the most expensive books sold via its site in October. At the top is a collection of Scottish music from 1782 that went for $8,500. Also on the list are some collectible Tolkien and Hemingway. (Thanks, Laurie)
What do you do if you’re Leo Tolstoy, 20 years old and being treated in isolation for venereal disease? Start a diary, of course. Because you’re Tolstoy, you’ll probably use this diary to make a plan of your day, and then comment on how your actual activities line up with your ideals (“not quite,” usually). And, to be as Tolstoy-ish as possible, why not rate all your actions on a general moral scale? An example: “Arose somewhat late and read, but did not have time to write. Poiret came, I fenced, and did not send him away (sloth and cowardice). Ivanov came, I spoke with him for too long (cowardice). Koloshin (Sergei) came to drink vodka, I did not escort him out (cowardice).” And so on. For some long-term perspective, pair with The Millions‘s perennially popular “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? 8 Experts on Who’s Greater.”
The Atavist has been killing it lately. Last month, I was riveted by Joshuah Bearman’s outrageous (and completely true) story of one Brit’s attempt to bring a “Baghdad Country Club” to the city’s Green Zone. This month, “Mother, Stranger,” Cris Beam’s account of her abusive mother–a distant relative of William Faulkner–had me on the verge of tears.
Here’s a look at the top-ten most read articles from Electric Literature of 2015, most of which we’ve already told you about and all of which is worth a revisit. Bonus: here’s a Best of Brain Pickings, as well.