In a piece for Public Books Rebecca Steinitz reviews some recent historical novels, including The Luminaries and The Invention of Wings, and argues that the best historical fiction “plunges the reader wholly into the past, enlightening and entertaining us, while also making us reflect on our present, in history and in literature.” Pair her piece with Laila Lalami‘s account of “How History Becomes Story.”
Random House Canada launched a new website yesterday, and a new internet magazine to go along with it. There’s a piece from Hari Kunzru on Werner Herzog, and I’m especially taken with this one from Emily Landau on Christopher Hitchens and David Rakoff.
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.)
An arsonist broke into the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library, but Robert Long Foreman‘s dismayed for more than that reason.