Now this is one of the strangest things to happen at a concert in a while: M.I.A. kicked off her tour to promote her new album Matangi by getting Julian Assange to open for her at Terminal 5. The Wikileaks founder spoke to the audience via Skype.
Out this week is Russian author Vladimir Sorokin’s Day of the Oprichnik. Coinciding with that release, NYRB Classics is putting out Sorokin’s Ice Trilogy. Georges Perec’s The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is now on shelves, as is Stewart O’Nan’s Emily, Alone, in which he revisits the Maxwell family from his 2002 book Wish You Were Here.
Apocalyptic literature is nothing new, but it may, according to Grayson Clary, be entering a new era. In Bookforum, he argues that Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands ushers the genre into its mannerist phase. Sample quote: “The Dead Lands is really the stripped, buffed skeleton of a road story, set up to show off—attractively—an enormous quantity of decorating tropes.” You could also read our interview with Percy.
In 2013, poet and bookseller Alan Brandsted approached Seattle’s Wave Books with an interesting proposal: in exchange for a box of galleys and gas money, he would embark on a cross-country mission to “spread the good word of poetry to independent bookstores.” What followed is the ongoing Indie Bookstore Tour, which is being chronicled on Tumblr (hashtag “#wavepoetrytour”) and Instagram. (First Tumblr post can be found here.)
The average book tour is filled with indignities, but none may be worse than getting kicked out of a cheap motel, which is exactly what happened to our own Bill Morris on the tour for his latest novel. At The Daily Beast, he recounts the unfortunate events that led to him getting booted from a Motel 6. You could also read his essay on listening to the audiobook of his own novel while on tour.
Calling a book “the spiritual prequel to The Road” is a great way to signal its command of dystopian tropes. It’s what Gabe Durham wrote about Maxwell Neely-Cohen’s recent YA novel Echo of the Boom. At The Rumpus, Durham interviews Neely-Cohen, who describes how he tried to give a metafictional bent to the novel. Related: we asked high school students to pick their favorite YA books of 2013.
“How easy for the waterfall to turn back / into the river, the long, silent face / holding all that has passed through it / as though untouched…” A new poem from Charif Shanahan at Lit Hub, “Wanting to Be White,” forces the audience “to reconsider poetics and race, distinct yet indivisible in the American grain.” Not a fan of poetry? Check out our list of ten poems for people who hate poetry.