The unreliable narrator is a bit of a cliche, but it’s still possible to write a good story that features one. At The Rumpus, Alex Dueben talks with Robert Boswell about his new book, which uses a technique Boswell calls “unreliable omniscience.”
When you think "Franz Kafka," it typically isn't his sunny disposition that comes to mind. According to Reiner Stach, this new collection of ephemera, however, seeks to challenge the tired, old conception of Kafka-as-tortured neurotic. Here's a Millions review of Stach's twin biographies of Kafka, himself.
Out this week: The Mothers by Brit Bennett; The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky; Him, Me, Muhammad Ali by Randa Jarrar; Future Sex by Emily Witt; Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner; Upstream by Mary Oliver; and Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
Literary Twitter has been on fire with #ManlyBookClubNames since The New York Times style section reported that apparently men have book clubs, too. “Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity.” If you’re looking for a book club, consider joining Adam Boretz’s Football Book Club.
In general, fact-checking isn’t the most glamorous part of a journalist’s career, which is why Michael Erard was surprised to find that a recent fact-checking session for an Al Jazeera article turned out to be among the most interesting conversations of his life. Why? His sources were linguists, and their job was to explain to him the workings of brand-new sign languages.
"They might underline a page number, draw a little star on the last page, or write their first initial somewhere in the book." A librarian in Scotland discovered a secret code used by elderly patrons to track which books they already read. From our archives: an essay on the importance of libraries and how they can stay relevant.