Are we now living in a golden age of the uncanny? The Millions contributor Porochista Khakpour suspects that we are, and she also suspects that our historical moment, populated as it is with alienating developments and surreal art, is key to understanding the work of Helen Oyeyemi. In the Times, Khakpour reviews Oyeyemi’s new novel. (You could also read both writers’ Year in Reading pieces.)
In general, fact-checking isn’t the most glamorous part of a journalist’s career, which is why Michael Erard was surprised to find that a recent fact-checking session for an Al Jazeera article turned out to be among the most interesting conversations of his life. Why? His sources were linguists, and their job was to explain to him the workings of brand-new sign languages.
Chief among your more anxiety-producing kinds of literature is the genre of books geared towards expectant mothers. Examples of the genre offer every bit of advice imaginable — much of it contradictory — and condemn a laundry list of relatively common behaviors. At Salon, our own Lydia Kiesling recounts her own dive into the pregnancy-lit waters. This might also be a good time to read fellow staff writer Edan Lepucki on the perils of reading while expecting.
Amazon just announced a new program entitled Kindle MatchBook, “giv[ing] customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.” MatchBook will include purchases made as far back as 1995, so you are officially out of excuses when it comes to cracking that lofty, intimidating TBR pile in your house.
HTMLGiant’s A. D. Jameson went and saw part one of The Hobbit in theatres so now none of us have to do the same. Instead, sit back and check out his “250 Points” about the film. Or, if you’d prefer a blast of Tolkien analysis from the past, check out W. H. Auden’s 1956 book review of The Return of the King.