You may have heard that our own Emily St. John Mandel has a new book on shelves. The book depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which a group of nomadic actors deal with the aftermath of a devastating flu pandemic. Claire Cameron (who’s also written for The Millions) reviews the book for The Globe and Mail.
Accusations of plagiarism – the real kind, which is not to be confused with “self-plagiarism” – just keep following Turkish writer Elif Şafak, don’t they? Lydia Kiesling previously reported on the fiasco around her book Iskender last August, but now more allegations are surrounding the cover art on Şafak’s latest novel, Şemspare.
“But even among its peers, Louie is an outlier. It is a show that, more than any other, both caters to this new kind of audience — the Laptop Loners — and has, as its creator, a member of the club…we are living in the iGeneration, in which the self is projected back toward the world via social media. But whereas many Americans weave their public personas from curated chains of cultural signifiers — think of the popular web platform tumblr, where users ‘express themselves’ by posting digital reproductions of existing images — [Louis] C.K. aims for something more penetrating, a filmic representation of his own psyche,” claims the Los Angeles Review of Books.
The 87th annual California Book Awards, which “recognizes the state’s best writers and illuminate the wealth and diversity of literature written in California,” announced this year’s finalists. The nominees include Rachel Khong‘s Goodbye, Vitamin, Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Refugees, and Zinzi Clemmons‘s What We Lose (here’s the full list). From our archives: The Millions’ interview with Khong.
Chances are that Hemingway is the only writer who comes to mind when you think of Spanish bullfighting. Well, clear some space in your mental sphere, because A.L. Kennedy wrote another entry in the bullfighting canon. On the Ploughshares blog, Miles Wray takes a look at Kennedy’s 2001 On Bullfighting.
This week, our own Lydia Kiesling took part in The Morning News Tournament of Books, where she adjudicated a showdown between Scott McClanahan’s Hill William and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Who went on to the next round: the trans-Pacific odyssey, or the tale of West Virginia? (You could also read our own Edan Lepucki’s Tournament contribution from last year, or else read our own Nick Moran’s Year in Reading piece on Scott McClanahan.)
“‘I want to meet POETS,’ I typed. Beneath my earnest headline, I described how I yearned for a workshop buddy who wrote contemporary verse, someone who wasn’t afraid to give and accept feedback. I also asked for a sample poem, just to weed out the people I didn’t jive with stylistically.” On forging friendships with poets from Denise K. James at The Rumpus.
Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”