Flavorwire has compiled a list of the best literary criticism of the year, ranging from Rebecca Solnit on Lolita to Elena Ferrante on literary publicity. Also check out this year’s most notable Millions pieces, from our star-studded Year in Reading to a literary reader for Lent.
“Motherhood has always been contested terrain, but for the last decade or so it’s been a virtual battleground; every year, almost like clockwork, we have another flare-up in the so-called Mommy Wars, with another Tiger Mom or Get-Back-To-Work-er or Can’t Have It all-er launching a grenade as prelude to a book tour. And as much as I have an obvious stake in these battles as a mother and a feminist, I’ve come to find them depressingly repetitive, all sound and fury but offering little in terms of the policies that might actually affect our decisions.” At the LARB, Stephanie Bower gives her take on Why Have Kids?, Jessica Valenti’s new treatise on parenting.
The day has come. Amazon just announced that it is now selling more e-books than physical books, and its ad-infused “Kindle with Special Offers is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family.” Meanwhile, it’s still news when a well-known author publishes an e-book (in this case, Susan Orlean’s new Kindle Single Animalish).
Move over, Hemingway! Youtube sensation PewDiePie, as famous for his video game commentary as he is for his loyal fanbase (the curiously-dubbed “Bro Army”), is a New York Times best-seller. PewDiePie’s This Book Loves You is one of three books written by Youtubers currently enjoying positions on various best-seller lists.
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.
“The first boy to kiss your mother later raped women / when the war broke out. She remembers hearing this / from your uncle, then going to your bedroom and lying down on the floor. You were at school.” The poetry of Warsan Shire, Young Poet Laureate of London, does not mess around.
The true confessions of Lev Grossman, book reviewer: “There was a time when I actually believed, because I was an ass, that as a critic I was an avenging angel with a flaming sword, and that part of my job was to help rid the culture of books that were sucking up more of the literary oxygen than they deserved.”