“All war literature, across the centuries, bears witness to certain eternal truths: the death and chaos encountered, minute by minute; the bonds of love and loyalty among soldiers; the bad dreams and worse anxieties that afflict many of those lucky enough to return home.” In an omnibus review for The New York Times Michiko Kakutani looks at the fiction and journalism being written about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including recent Year in Reading alum and National Book Award winner Phil Klay‘s Redeployment and Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War, “the one book that most fluently and kaleidoscopically captures both the micro and the macro of Iraq.” She also wonders, and attempts to explain, “why has there been no big, symphonic Iraq or Afghanistan novel?”
Today in things you might like to read about animals: Some birds, apparently, not only mourn their dead but even hold funeral services. And while it’s widely known that the internet is made of cats, Wired dug a little deeper and tried to uncover the root of our collective feline fixation.
Blasphemy Alert: They’re giving the film version of August: Osage County a “less downbeat” ending. Curse you, Harvey Weinstein! Is nothing sacred? Can a woman not lament the disintegration of her life, family, and mental stability while the final lines to T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” are read by her housekeeper? Has America gone soft?
Here’s a simple poll idea we’re amazed we hadn’t thought of before: asking famous writers to pick their favorite words. In The Guardian, Hilary Mantel, Tessa Hadley and others (including Year in Reading alum Eimear McBride) choose their picks for an exceedingly odd vocabulary list.
Maybe you’re a speed-reader or maybe you’re a psychic who plans their reading lists months ahead of time. Those are the only two possible scenarios by which you may have finished reading all of the books on this year’s Man Booker Long List. And if that’s the case, it’s time to get started on The Guardian’s “Not The Booker” Long List.