Out this week: I Am Radar by Reif Larsen; Discontent and Its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid; Bitter Eden by Tatamkhulu Afrika; Wonderkid by Wesley Stace; and Lucky Alan, a new story collection by Jonathan Lethem. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Thanks to Stephen Elliot's Letters in the Mail project, LARB senior editor Matthew Specktor finds himself admiring the gorgeous handwriting of strangers, feeling tickled and gobsmacked, and reflecting on letter writing as something "beautifully useless to do."
Laila Lalami recently wrote about "How History Becomes Story," but writing an interesting and compelling history book sans fiction has its own challenges. Thankfully S.C. Gwynne offers some tips in a piece for the History News Network, including the hard-hitting reminder that "it is your job to force your facts into narrative form."
New this week: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson; The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky; All That's Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe; The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan; The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble; and Be My Wolff by Emma Richler. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Vol. 1 Brooklyn's Tobias Carroll presents a roundup of the best new literature blurring the lines between writing and the visual arts, including works that made cameos in Paul Auster's Leviathan and Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth. We reviewed the latter novel a year ago here.
Recommended reading (and doodling): an excerpt from an upcoming translation of Martin Solares's How to Draw a Novel, complete with diagrams and squiggling lines. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen's look at authors's methods for drawing and mapping their own novels-in-progress.
Just in time for the new season of Mad Men, The Paris Review unlocked their interview with Matthew Weiner from the new issue. The showrunner talks, among other things, about his father's love of Swann's Way and his own adolescent love of Winesburg, Ohio. You could also take a look at our own Hannah Gersen's list of books to read when the season winds down.
Amidst all the sad tales of great bookstores going under, the Strand remains a fixture of the New York lit scene. At Vulture, Chris Bonanos explores the many reasons why the Strand is still afloat, among them the store’s increasing sales of new books. You could also read our own Janet Potter on her lifelong infatuation with bookstores.