“So, each year, I can’t help but ask: Is there a political point to be made for calling non-book related detritus, tchotchkes, sparkly twinkly things, sidelines instead of gifts, as many of my esteemed colleagues insist on calling all things?” When it comes to the pressures of running an independent bookstore during the holidays, Lucy Kogler at The Literary Hub gets it very right. Our own Janet Potter has waxed poetic about bookstores, as well.
"I wasn’t exactly feeling this. Still, I did try to rationalize what I was doing: maybe being altruistic and selfish at the same time was actually a good way to live, making sure sacrifice doesn’t go too far?" A psalm for a selfish hospice volunteer from Andy Mozina over at Electric Literature.
At Big Other, Greg Gerke reads William H. Gass's The Tunnel and looks at language, the controversy over the book, and how the vulgar and the beautiful relate.
New this week is a debut collection of loosely linked stories that's been getting some attention. Military families are the common theme in Siobhan Fallon's You Know When the Men Are Gone. Another newly released debut is Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters about a Shakespeare scholar's three daughters, all named after characters from the Bard's plays. Also new this week, a tome dedicated to the "hot" condiment of the moment, The Sriracha Cookbook.
No matter what you think of the bookish offspring of the OED’s word of the year, you should know that Neil Gaiman gave the term "shelfie" some more press. While moving out of his house, the author took a “tragic shelfie,” aka a picture of his books packed away in boxes. (Related: our own Tess Malone reviewed Gaiman's latest book.) (h/t The Paris Review)