The L.A. Times Book Prize finalists for 2013 have been announced. The five finalists in fiction are: Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs (also see her Year in Reading post), Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, Susan Steinberg’s Spectacle, and Daniel Woodrell’s The Maid’s Version. The winner will be announced on April 11.
When you’re trying to keep up with the best new writers out there, it’s easy to forget the debt we owe to the classics. So let’s go back to the beginning: Why Homer Matters, a new book by Adam Nicholson on the father of all poets, explores the question of who Homer was, and whether or not he was even one person. You could also read Frank Kovarik on the parallels between The Odyssey and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
“I slumped into an empty corner opposite Say Goodbye, Cattullus and wept into my knees for a half hour.” Catherine Lacey writes for The Paris Review‘s “Revisited” series, “in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago.” Pair with our own Bill Morris‘s consideration of artists whose works channel writers.
How do women write about the apocalypse? Sloane Crosley considers, referencing work from Mary Shelley, P.D. James, Laura van den Berg and our own Emily St. John Mandel. Pair with these Millions interviews with van den Berg and Mandel. Unfortunately, Mary Shelley was unavailable for comment.
Tournament of Books fans: The official Tournament of Books bracket has been posted. Along with an introduction to this year’s literary throwdown, readers can get a gorgeous bracket poster, sure to become the decorative centerpiece of any library wall.