What’s the best book of the 21st century? To date, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao seems to be the favorite – the BBC polled a few dozen US critics and Junot Diaz‘s novel came in first place. The full list is available from The Guardian, and includes Zadie Smith‘s White Teeth and Michael Chabon‘s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, both of which appeared alongside Oscar Wao in our own “Best of the Millennium” list a few years ago.
Out this week: Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson; Dark at the Crossing by Eliot Ackerman; Days Without End by Sebastian Barry; Mexico by Josh Barkan; The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivak; and Number 11 by Jonathan Coe. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Jack Gilbert died yesterday at the age of 87. Gilbert was the author of five standalone poetry collections—as well as additional collected volumes such as last March’s Collected Poems—and he was also a past winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award. For The LA Times, John Penner reviews the poet’s legacy. Or, perhaps as fitting tribute to Gilbert’s life and work, better to hear his own final lines to the poem “Failing and Flying”: “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, / but just coming to the end of his triumph.”
Don’t worry, everybody — Anita Thompson, widow of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, has finally returned the prized pair of antlers that Thompson stole from the Idaho home of Ernest Hemingway, himself. The antlers, which he stole while in Idaho on assignment reporting on Hemingway’s suicide, had hung in Thompson’s garage for the past fifty-four years.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about book sales — from what the heck even constitutes a sale, to standard print runs, to author earnings per sale — from Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature.
It appears that our own Sonya Chung’s consideration of underappreciated Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov played a role in getting one of his stories published in a forthcoming issue of PEN America.