At The New Yorker, Sarah Miller humorously learns why only positive book reviews might be a bad thing. “If St. Petersburg is the Little Engine That Could of city names, then the main character, Raskolnikov, is the Little Engine That Could of elderly pawnbroker murderers,” she writes in her review of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.
Hollywood Notebook by Wendy Ortiz is both a book of poetry and a memoir. Composed of several prose poems, the book depicts her evolution into a poet in her early thirties, following up where her previous memoir Excavation left off. At The Rumpus, Lesley Heiser analyses the book, with references to Phil Klay’s Redeployment and Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf.
Lots of anticipated books hitting shelves today. At the top of the list is Michael Lewis’s look at the recent financial calamity, The Big Short. Also new today, Chang Rae Lee’s The Surrendered, Ron Rash’s story collection Burning Bright, Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That, and James Hynes’ Next, about which we have noted some intriguing Twitter buzz. New in paperback are Victor LaValle’s The Big Machine and Dave Eggers’ The Wild Things.
n+1 posts several amusing excerpts from their “What Was The Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation” piece to be released in full later this month: “Like ‘douchebag,’ ‘hipster’ was a name that no one could apply to oneself. But the opportunity to call someone else a ‘douchebag’: that offered the would-be hipster a means of self-identification by a name one could say, looking outward. In the douchebag, the hipster had found its Other.”
You’ve read Elif Batuman’s dissertation on the double-entry book-keeping of novelists (pdf), but now your “debit” balance is low. (Whose isn’t these days?) Enter Sheila Heti and Misha Glouberman. They can document your very essence. The Paris Review has an excerpt from The Chairs Are Where the People Go.
As of last night, the UK has a brand new literary prize, the Folio, which its founders describe as “a Booker without the bow ties.” The Independent chronicles the short history of the prize, which owes its existence to a controversy among Man Booker judges two years ago.
Christian Lorentzen wonders, in Book Forum, what the first OWS novels will be like. He anticipates them showing up next year, but I’m thinking we’ve already got at least two, though they were both published well before Occupy: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story ought to fit the bill, and, of course, there’s that famous Melville story about Wall Street, but I’d prefer not to talk about it when I could just direct you to Hannah Gersen’s piece instead.