Since we’re deep into the season of “year end” lists, here’s a list of ten great novels written by women that didn’t get a lot of critical attention this year. That isn’t to say that aren’t a ton of other books deserving of this distinction, just that these are some really good ones. Go list-crazy and pair with our own Year in Reading series.
What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?
New this week are Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer by Wesley Stace (the pen name of singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding), and buzzed about debut The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale. On the nonfiction side is a new biography, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall. And new in paperback is Millions Hall of Famer The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
“To talk to Le Guin is to encounter alternatives. At her house, the writer is present, but so is Le Guin the mother of three, the faculty wife: the woman writing fantasy in tandem with her daily life.” The New Yorker dedicates a long profile to Ursula K. Le Guin. Pair with our interview with the prolific author.
Is the practice of using writing as a metaphor for birth, or birth as a metaphor for writing, in need of an overhaul? Stephanie Feldman for Electric Literature has some strong opinions on the subject. Motherhood on the brain, now? Check out this moving essay for The Millions on mothers and sons by Rachel Basch.