“Ich am Geoffrey Chaucer, and my litel poeme the Parliament of Foweles was the first to combyne the peanut buttir of Februarye the XIVth wyth the milk chocolate of wooing. And so Ich feel responsible to helpe wyth sum advyce on thys daye.” Love advice from Chaucer, via NPR.
The Tournament of Books team over at The Morning News have posted an in depth commentary on this year’s withheld Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Wall Street Journal asks a handful of book critics to name the books they thought should’ve won. And over at Moby Lives, Nick Davies has rounded up the statements made by the jury in response to the brouhaha. Lev Grossman, on the other hand, outlines why he’s totally okay with the board’s decision. And of course, we’ve got links and excerpts for all the finalists over here.
Much fuss was made about Barack Obama’s ex-girlfriends this week, as an excerpt from David Maraniss’ forthcoming Barack Obama: The Story was published in Vanity Fair. Of course, we sophisticated book readers care less about the man’s old flames than we do his literary pursuits, right? That’s why Mr. President’s analysis of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland” is so interesting.
“That no-way-out is really the difference between boys and girls in working-class culture, because a working-class boy could run, or could when I was growing up.” Guernica interviews Dorothy Allison about literature as glory; survival, opportunity, and gender; and working-class heroes vs. heroines. For your reading consideration: Bill Morris‘s essay on the riches of “white trash” literature.
Eliza Griswold’s got a great essay up on The Poetry Foundation’s website. It’s about poetry and reportage in Lampedusa, the largest island in the Italian Pelagie chain.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel The Lola Quartet is out today. New Yorkers can see her (and some other Millions staffers) read on Sunday. Also out are Robert Caro’s latest installment of his LBJ biography, Nell Freudenberger’s The Newlyweds, Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, and Steve Coll’s oil industry exposé Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.