This week, our own Lydia Kiesling took part in The Morning News Tournament of Books, where she adjudicated a showdown between Scott McClanahan’s Hill William and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Who went on to the next round: the trans-Pacific odyssey, or the tale of West Virginia? (You could also read our own Edan Lepucki’s Tournament contribution from last year, or else read our own Nick Moran’s Year in Reading piece on Scott McClanahan.)
“You’re following some cute glyph about smoking, then one about stationary, then dirty dishes and some mischievous cat—then it’s suddenly ‘Not your father’s safari jacket’ followed by pearl puddles, LIBERATOR dildos, Quaker teens, rehab, troubled teens, and more jackets. It’s like a mini-Buñuel movie! And they expect you to keep following along with Malcolm Gladwell, or whoever it is, over there to the left? Why would you? You want to shout, Hey Malcolm, can you shut up about Twitter and explain the neo-surrealist montage unfolding perversely in the margins?” The strange amalgamation that is the magazine ad column.
If for some unspeakable reason you didn’t follow my advice when I urged you to subscribe to the VQR over a year ago, then perhaps you need more convincing. Enter: Ron Charles. He’s got a brief preview of the magazine’s Winter Issue, which hit shelves this week, and which contains an essay based on Natasha Trethewey’s Library of Congress speech.
Out this week: The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison; Prodigals by Greg Jackson; 99 Poems: New and Selected by Dana Gioia; Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett; Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves; and Slow Boat to China by Kim Chew Ng. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Have you ever wondered how memoirists remember their childhoods so well when we can barely remember what we ate for breakfast this morning? Although losing your earliest memories is a common phenomenon called childhood amnesia, we’re more likely to remember childhood if we fashion it into a story.