“‘I can hold my own in the bedroom and the boardroom,’ she said to no one, and to everyone. ‘You should never underestimate me.’ She took off her blonde ponytail and shook her hair loose; there was another blonde ponytail underneath it.” There’s no better time than now to revisit Mallory Ortberg’s classic, unbelievably funny piece “A Day in the Life of an Empowered Female Heroine” from The Toast.
Just in time for today's Booker announcement, a pair of shortlisters are now (or will be tomorrow) available stateside: In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut and The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. Ian Frazier's big travelogue (generously excerpted in the New Yorker) Travels in Siberia is out, as is Adam Levin's massive The Instructions from McSweeney's. Three more: Djibouti by Elmore Leonard, How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu, and a gorgeous Library of America edition of "six novels in woodcuts" by pioneering graphic novelist Lynd Ward.
A South Korean designer has created “a translucent plastic tray with a slot for your reading material – be it paper, magazine or book – and a specially marked spot for mugs.” The idea is to prevent unfortunate coffee spills from ruining your morning newspaper. Or, you know, you could just stop being so clumsy.
What writers are actually earning money? Over at Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel takes a look at the new Author Earnings report, which scours Amazon bestseller lists and extrapolates the data to make claims about the state of publishing and self-publishing. Here's an older Millions piece by Edan Lepucki on self-publishing as supplemental and influential to the traditional route.
Dan Piepenbring writes at The Paris Review on judging a book by its cover in the Weimar Republic and the sheer mastery of some of the early twentieth-century German cover designers. Two related pieces from The Millions: our own Bill Morris on the pleasures of the typewritten book cover and Matt Allard on reimagining some popular cover art.
Congratulations to our very own Emily St. John Mandel, whose second novel, The Singer's Gun, is included, along with 19 other books, in the 2010 Indie Next List Highlights. Jason Hafer of Wolfgang Books says: "The Singer's Gun is a taut, restrained book with a quick hook and a long pull. It is a moving and mysterious work, wholly authentic."
What do Talking Heads, The Smiths, Judas Priest, and Blondie have in common? They’re all featured in the playlist Picador made to accompany the paperback release of Jeffrey Eugenides's latest novel, The Marriage Plot. The Spotify list is chock full of songs “Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell might have been listening to in the early 1980s.” You can read Eugenides’s take on the book’s genesis over here, too.