It’s impossible to deny that memoir writing is having a bit of a moment, as more and more major books delve deeply into authors’ lives for material (here’s looking at you, Knausgaard). But what happens when memoir meets straight history? According to The Canadian Press, both genres only become more interesting. “[People] think non-fiction is just boring, fuddy-duddy history books, [but] if you look at Canadian literature right now, non-fiction is incredibly exciting.”
You could spend a long car ride thinking about about all of the books that are currently outselling Rand Paul’s newest, Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America’s Leaders. According to data obtained from Nielsen BookScan, Paul’s book has sold less than 500 copies in two weeks. For reference, the end of Michelle Bachmann’s ill-fated 2012 presidential campaign was foreshadowed by her book, Core of Conviction, selling just a few thousand copies in the same time that it has taken Paul’s to sell hundreds.
Aimee Bender, Year in Reading alum and author of, most recently, The Color Master, writes for The New York Times about the structural genius of Goodnight Moon: "[The story] does two things right away: It sets up a world and then it subverts its own rules even as it follows them."
"We’ve often thought First Nations and indigenous students — if they don’t see themselves reflected.. how engaged they can be with the educational system?" The Huffington Post reports that a school board in southern Ontario is making a native-focused literature course mandatory after learning that those books "were more interesting and engaging to students than the classics." The class curriculum includes As Long as the River Flows by James Bartleman, Green Grass, Running Water and Medicine River by Thomas King, the 7 Generations graphic novel series by David Alexander Robertson, and Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. (Story via Book Riot.)
Masha Gessen will be the first writer to publish a book about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Previously the author demonstrated her knowledge of Chechnya in her 2012 book The Man Without a Face. Gessen, who is also working on a book about embattled punk group Pussy Riot, will reportedly leave her directorship at Moscow Radio Liberty in order to report on both projects full time.
Must be willing to perform “light, household maintenance.” Harry Bliss, an illustrator and cartoonist at The New Yorker, has purchased the former home of J.D. Salinger and will turn it into a retreat for one lucky cartoonist during February 2017. Pair with our review of J.D. Salinger: A Life, a comprehensive biography of the famously reclusive writer's work.
“He believed it a privilege and a shame that his race and nationality gave him the chance to come and go from lands where a guillotine blade seemed to dangle forever over the local citizens.” Denis Johnson's longtime Esquire editor Will Blythe pens a remembrance of the writer for The New York Times. See also: our own Sonya Chung's recommendation of Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back. “I know it will knock him out," she wrote. "It does (of course).”
“Apple’s example sentence for ‘shrill’ referenced ‘women’s voices,’ and the one for the word ‘psyche’ read, ‘I will never really fathom the female psyche.’ [...] The pronouns in entries for ‘doctor’ and ‘research’ were male, while a ‘she’ could be found doing ‘housework.’” The New Oxford American Dictionary needs its own guidelines for nonsexist usage.