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.
A German cow named Yvonne escaped her impending trip to a slaughterhouse and soon became a national icon. In the wake of public outcry, officials have called off the search for her. Elsewhere, Lydia Davis is probably regretting that this story broke after she published her bovine chapbook The Cows.
Slate has translated famous first lines of literature into emojis, and they're surprisingly coherent. Pair with Jonathan Russell Clark's essay on opening sentences.
At 3 Quarks Daily, Akeel Bilgrami’s essay on the pleasures of literature: “To understand what is special about literature is not to delegate the emotions to literature while retaining thought for philosophy and science. The idea is to find in the distinctly expressive function of literature, a refusal of that tired dualism.” (via Book Bench)
The Tournament of Books team over at The Morning News have posted an in depth commentary on this year's withheld Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Wall Street Journal asks a handful of book critics to name the books they thought should've won. And over at Moby Lives, Nick Davies has rounded up the statements made by the jury in response to the brouhaha. Lev Grossman, on the other hand, outlines why he's totally okay with the board's decision. And of course, we've got links and excerpts for all the finalists over here.
Millions alumna Emily M. Keeler interviewed author David Gilmour for Hazlitt’s Shelf Esteem blog. In the process (and perhaps because he was distracted by “a Frenchman”) the author voiced some opinions on female authors that have been called “ill-informed,” “careless and offensive,” and “staggeringly narrow-minded and parochial.” The ongoing kerfuffle prompted Hazlitt to share the unedited transcript from Keeler’s interview, and it’s clear that Gilmour’s remarks were not taken out of context.
"There is a saying that has become a cliché: 'Pictures speak louder than words.' But sometimes, a picture can speak louder than words because it contains a profound silence. It’s what a picture does not say that can often make it loud. What is, after all, a wordless novel but a novel devoted to the message of silence?" On Frans Masereel's My Book of Hours, a wordless novel in woodcuts. For another, lighter perspective on the power of picture books, pair with Jacob Lambert's "Yet Again, I Ask: Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray?"