Recommended Reading: Anya Groner’s short story “Suspecting the Smiths” at The Oxford American. “From the ages of nine to eleven, I worked as a spy… I discussed my cases with my partner, who went by code name Mountain Chicken Mother of the Buddha.”
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, the forthcoming debut effort by sometime Millions contributor Elif Batuman, gets an intriguing write-up in Publishers Weekly.
Just got a new e-reader for Christmas but afraid to overspend too easily? Many public domain books are classics, ones that you might want to revisit from school or others that you feel guilty for not having read. Here is a list of 10 free books. Or, if you're more interested in paying for newer titles, you can check out our cheat sheet of the favorites of Millions readers and places to find more.
The folks at The New Yorker's Book Bench offer their take at The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. (Spoiler Alert: Katherine Hepburn gets a shoutout.)
"Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons." Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things To Me, on maintaining hope and resisting defeatism.
Authors are known to mine material from their personal relationships for their writing, but John Updike found inspiration from his interviews. After journalist William Ecenbarger wrote a profile of Updike in 1983, he found himself the subject of an Updike short story. Pair with: Our review of Updike's Collected Stories.