This year’s Tournament of Books comes to an end today, after nearly a month of analyses, debates and thoughtful arguments. In the final round, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life squares off with James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, both of which are, in Héctor Tobar’s words, “unorthodox, historical novels.” Now that the verdicts are in, the only question is: who won? (You could also read the quarterfinal judged by our own Lydia Kiesling.)
The Digital Reader rounded up a list based on Amazon's end of year book sales. Some interesting factoids: Dan Brown's Origin: A Novel was the most read and gifted book this holiday season, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was the year's most borrowed book from Prime Reading. Pair with: our cheat sheet for Kindle (and other e-reader) owners.
"And, it really means so much to us to watch our birds fly out of the high school nest and into an income bracket that could really benefit the Annual Fund this year. I mean, we have 85% of our goal, but as you know, that’s only a B. And we know that you are an A student." Ah, what a heartwarming and totally genuine letter from my private, nonprofit high school congratulating me on my new job. Thanks, McSweeney's.
The number of options presented to people dating today can be overwhelming and sometimes weird. Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine touches on this subject, posing “questions about wanting and having and bodies and food and sex that often arise in discussions about how people date today.” Natasha Lewis reviews the book in The New Republic.
Sometimes, Virginia Woolf took a break from her busy schedule of constant brilliance in order to write children's stories for her nephews' newspaper, The Charleston Bulletin. A taste: "When in a good and merry mood Trisy would seize a dozen eggs, and a bucket of flour, coerce a cow to milk itself, and then mixing the ingredients toss them 20 times high up over the skyline, and catch them as they fell in dozens and dozens and dozens of pancakes."
The Poetry Archive: "The Poetry Archive is the world's premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work. You can enjoy listening here, free of charge, to the voices of contemporary English-language poets and of poets from the past."A few days ago the New York Times released its usual 100 book "Notable" list, but now we get the really good stuff: the Times top ten of the year. The big surprise: an appearance by Curtis Sittenfeld's "calm and memorably incisive first novel," Prep.Scott and Ed and others have already noted this, but I just got around to reading it: the NYRB piece on our latest National Book Award winner, William T. Vollmann.Also noted by many litblogs, the ever-multitasking Bud has launched a sleek litblog network/aggregator/community: MetaxuCafe. Very cool.