“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn’t admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.
Like YA novels? Harbor a certain affection for the book publishing arm of McSweeney’s? Then you’re the prime audience for this excerpt of The Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, Michelle Tea’s contribution to the publisher’s new Mullens imprint. (Naturally, it’s the first in a trilogy.)
Mary Ruefle, author of the forthcoming Madness, Rack, and Honey, wrote a poetic essay on the subject of fear. It’s chock full of lines like this one about why she likes the word dread more than the word fear: “because fear, like the unconscious emotion which is one of its forms, has only the word ear inside of it, telling an animal to listen, while dread has the word read inside of it, telling us to read carefully and find the dead, who are also there.”
If you get bored on your daily commute, you might want to look at Derive, an app that generates random routes that give you new perspectives on your city. As The Common founder (and Millions contributor) Jennifer Acker puts it: “Let the French show you how to walk.”
I’m thinking about installing a Delaney Nolan bat signal to alert the world of her new work whenever it appears. Previously I’ve evangelized about her writing in Guernica, Necessary Fiction, Sundog Lit, and The Rumpus, but this time I’d like to call attention to her photo essay about New Orleans in the latest issue of Oxford American.
Last week, I wrote about the new Philip Marlowe novel by Benjamin Black, aka Year in Reading alum John Banville. Over the weekend, Banville published an essay in The Guardian about writing the iconic character, whom he describes as “one of the immortals.”
New this week: Satin Island by Tom McCarthy; The Infernal by Mark Doten; The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw; All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found by Philip Connors; Green on Blue by Elliot Ackerman; Making Nice by Matt Sumell; After Birth by Elisa Albert; Blue Stars by Emily Ray Tedrowe; The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan; The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi; and Find Me by Laura van den Berg. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.