Year in Reading Alum Alexander Chee reviews Rick Moody’s latest release, Hotels of North America. “The present is too cruel for him, and yet he cannot change it, so there is this instead, sentence by sentence, a nod to the past that is really a nod to his own past. A conflation of his nostalgia for the days of his sexual attractiveness and the unencumbered power of white men, all of it dressed up as a love for old words.” To hear more from Moody, check out our recent interview with him.
Paravion Press, a small press born in a small Greek island’s bookshop, print postcard-sized editions of short stories that are designed to be sent by mail, complete with a page for your correspondence and an envelope. To celebrate their Valentine’s publication of Katherine Mansfield’s “Feuille d’Album,” they’re holding a Romantic Haiku Challenge, whose winner will receive a free copy.
According to a new biography of Richard Pryor, the legendary comedian kicked off his career as a teen in Peoria, Illinois, when he starred in a play based on Rumpelstiltskin and “broke the other kids up.” At The Nervous Breakdown, nine choice passages from the book.
The recent passing of Christopher Hitchens has led to numerous praiseful eulogies. Many have been (and he would’ve hated this…) hagiographic. Now, in an article for The Nation, Katha Pollitt seeks to “complicate the picture … at the risk of seeming churlish” to allege that the man “had virtually no interest in women’s writing or women’s lives or perspectives.”
Sam Tanenhaus asks, What do this season’s political books tell us about the election? As he puts it, “Election-year analyses always seem to arrive too late or too soon. They are useful nonetheless. The mistakes and misapprehensions — what the authors thought they knew — mirror the broader thinking of their moment.” Pair with this Millions essay on politics and excessive language.
In her Shelf Awareness interview, Hilary Mantel admits that Wolf Hall, her recently released Bring Up the Bodies, and the trilogy’s forthcoming conclusion were originally conceived to be one book. That they kept expanding, she says, is “the torment and joy of writing fiction.” Meanwhile, over at The Daily Beast, the English author rounds up her five favorite historical fictions.
“In a genre that has long been dominated by white men and Western mythological tropes, Ms. Okorafor’s stories, which feature young black girls in starring roles as superheroes and saviors of humanity, have been hailed as groundbreaking.” The New York Times shines a spotlight on Nnedi Okorafor and other African American science fiction and fantasy writers building on -and popularizing-a tradition of African and African American folklore in the sci fi and fantasy genre.
Recommended Reading: Jen Calleja offers a reading list to soothe your Brexit blues at The Quietus. “Like many people, I went through the five stages of Brexit – ‘oh well’, manic laughter, crying, rage, existential despair – in one day, and in the days that followed felt numb, nauseous, in doubt. But now it’s time to climb out of the mourning pit and work even harder than before at holding on to a European identity and keeping channels open to personal and literary dialogues with our European neighbours.”