You wouldn’t think Grendel’s mother would win any awards for being a great mom, but Oyster is giving accolades to literature’s most horrifying mothers in honor of the holiday. The list also includes Madame Bovary’s Emma Bovary as the most selfish mother and Pride and Prejudice’s Mrs. Bennet as most nettlesome mother.
If you're looking forward to the next Margaret Atwood novel, you'll have to wait a century. Atwood is the first author to participate in the Future Library project, in which 100 authors will write 100 original manuscripts to be published 100 years from now. We're envious of our grandchildren. If you'd like an Atwood fix sooner, her short story collection Stone Mattress: Nine Tales comes out next week.
"There’s no doubt that Life A User’s Manual takes an approach to depicting reality that is very different from the standard realist novel, which we have been conditioned to believe is the best and most-preferred way of representing our world...Though not without its enlightening aspects, this conversation has generally fallen into a simplistic dichotomy, where realist writing is described as giving us the real world of everyday life, and anything other than realist writing is seen as directing its energies toward a vague something that no one cares to define very well." A look at Oulipo and its legacy from Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, who recently wrote an Oulipo-themed Year in Reading for us.
Recommended reading: Meg Wolitzer wonders "why are teenage girls drawn to books about mental instability?"