Can’t wait for this year’s Morning News Tournament of Books? The staff announced their shortlist and panel of judges this morning. The shortlist includes, among other books, Redeployment by Phil Klay, which took home this year’s National Book Award, as well as our own Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.
In 1998, Matthew Stokoe kicked off his career as a novelist with Cows, a stomach-turning book set largely in the confines of a slaughterhouse. Now, Stokoe has written a book with a somewhat ironic title, considering it dials down the obscenity in comparison to his early work. Drew Smith interviews the author over at Full-Stop.
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
In his novels and plays, Sebastian Barry often focuses on segment of Irish society that tends to get ignored in literature — the Irishmen who fought for the British Empire in the first and second World Wars. At Full-Stop, John Cussen reads The Temporary Gentleman, which portrays a British officer, Jack McNulty, who sets out to write his memoirs. (Related: Matt Kavanagh wrote a piece for The Millions on Irish financial fiction after the crash of 2008.)