Starting this year, Kirkus Reviews will award the impressive sum of $50,000 each to three winners of their new Kirkus Prize, which recognizes works of fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. This morning, they announced their first-ever batch of finalists, a long list including a few names who should be familiar to Millions readers: Elizabeth Kolbert (for The Sixth Extinction, which we published an essay about); Year in Reading alum Sarah Waters (for The Paying Guests); Thomas Piketty (for Capital in the 21st Century); New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (for her memoir); and Siri Hustvedt (for The Blazing World, which we reviewed). Their judges will announce the winners on October 23rd.
In the 1880s, a group of rural Illinoisans formed a Christian sect that believed that a local woman, Dorinda Beekman, was the new Jesus Christ. When Mrs. Beekman died, a follower of hers claimed that her spirit lived inside him; as the new leader of the sect, he moved his followers into a barn and named it Heaven. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Visel looks back on this odd chapter of history, as well as the novel it inspired. (Related: Eric Shonkwiler on the literature of the Midwest.)
The much discussed Fifty Shades of Grey arrives as a paperback today, though one wonders if readers will be as willing to read it if they must shed the privacy of the e-reader. Also out is the gorgeous retrospective, The Art of Daniel Clowes. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright and MAN Asian Literary Prize winner Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin are new in paperback.
Eileen Myles, the poet and self-described “loudmouthed lesbian (which means mainstream invisible)” has given One Grand Books a list of her ten favorite books from the Djuna Barnes classic Nightwood to John Wieners’s Supplication: Selected Poems. Here’s a complementary Millions essay on Eileen Myles and the fugitive form.
You may have read Darcey Steinke’s Year in Reading piece, or perhaps one of her articles here at The Millions. Or else you might have read — or at least heard about — her recent novel, Sister Golden Hair. Either way, you should read this interview at The Rumpus, in which she talks about Virginia, femininity and books that have too much plot.