David Bowie hasn’t performed live in seven years, but he has a good excuse — he’s been reading. His top 100 books are part of the “David Bowie Is” traveling exhibition (currently in Toronto.) The list reveals that he’s a big fan of American lit, including Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys, Saul Bellow’s Herzog, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and more. He’s also an amateur rock historian, naming Charlie Gillete’s The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll and Peter Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom among others. When can we sign up for the class, Professor Bowie?
Words Without Borders has interviewed the writers and translators of Man Booker International Prize finalists Man Tiger, A General Theory of Oblivion, The Vegetarian, and more. Pair with this Millions review of The Vegetarian, a “dark and cynical” novel.
Crime novelist Sue Grafton passed away earlier this week from cancer. Lit Hub and Vulture both have touching tributes to her and her detective series starring Kinsey Millhone. “Grafton belonged to a cluster of female authors who viewed the private-detective subgenre, previously dominated by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Grafton’s own hero, Ross Macdonald, in desperate need of subverting” and “The annual release of her latest Kinsey Millhone novel was, for generations of devotees, one of the year’s premier literary events. ” Rest in peace Ms. Grafton.
The longest word in the English language is not antidisestablishmentarianism. Nor is it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It is, in fact, the chemical name of titin, the largest known protein. And now you can listen to all 189,819 letters of it being pronounced. Bonus points if you work it into your next conversation.
Two French novelists, two books about dead babies: Literary cat fight, canny PR scheme, or “psychological plagiarism”? Read all about the literary feud that’s captivating France here.