Out this week: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee; Armada by Ernest Cline; Among the Wild Mulattos and Other Tales by Tom Williams; Confession of the Lioness by Mia Couto; The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley; Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas; All This Life by Joshua Mohr; A Master Plan for Rescue by Janis Cooke Newman; Imperium by Christian Kracht; and The New World by Andrew Motion. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“Fifty Shades of Grey follows this long history of class ascendancy via feminine wiles, but does so cleverly disguised as an edgy modern bodice-ripper,” writes Heather Havrilesky in the latest issue of The Baffler. Throughout the piece, Havrilesky explores the way luxury brand fetishism and conspicuous consumption fueled E.L. James's “female-friendly” pornography phenomenon
2010 is soon to be over. That means that The Morning News Tournament of Books is almost upon us. Two excellent developments this year: 1) the folks behind the Rooster have released the longlist of titles under consideration to make the final 16 (including The Singer's Gun by our own Emily St. John Mandel) and 2) they have left one judging spot open that you (you!) can apply to fill.
The editors of Apogee Journal have reserved themselves the right not to read submissions blindly. As they explain it, "Blind submissions don’t actually protect writers from the existing prejudices of editors, and they alone do not contribute to editors reading inclusively."
Joel Rice has a new column up at McSweeney’s, in which he looks at “the literature of skateboarding.” All in all, this kind of reflective writing should pair nicely with Nick Courage’s fantastic Paris Review piece from last month. (Bonus: Rice’s column linked above also features a nice little bit of David Foster Wallace memorabilia.)
Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith's satirical essay on the new literary movement "The Real Newism" at Hobart. "Did Virgil go to hell? No. Did Virginia Woolf go to Disney World? No, and it turns out that Orlando isn’t a place, but a dude. And did Truman Capote ever have breakfast at Tiffany’s? Yes, but the eggs Benedict was cold and the bloody marys were 'bullshit.'"
Nicole Chung interviews Amy Tan about her new memoir Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir, one of the highlights is when Tan ponders being one of the 'first' authors that people name/read when they think of Asian-American literature. "But when ["The Joy Luck Club"] came out, it did feel like there were many expectations from all areas — not just in the Asian American community, but in Asian culture itself, and in any ethnic studies community. There were people who said 'At last!' and there were people who said 'How dare she?' [...] I wanted to say: I’m not writing sociology, it just so happens this is what happened in my own family."