“(The Great Gatsby) is often considered the greatest American novel of the 20th century—I waver on that sometimes but I love the beauty of its writing, its tabloid immediacy, the high body count, its modernistic touches, the relentless drama put into its novella-length form.” Bret Easton Ellis’s top ten favorite books doesn’t include many surprises, but it’s worth a look.
Is this image of John McEnroe a great visual complement to John McWhorter’s review of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years, or is it the greatest visual complement to John McWhorter’s review of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years?
Recommended reading: Michael Booth writes for The Paris Review about the work of Danish author Aksel Sandemose and the “enduring mark on the national character” his satirical Jante Law has left.
At 1,700 words, J.K. Rowling’s new “History of the Quidditch World Cup” may not be as daunting a read as J.R.R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in its appeal to ardent fans. At Slate, a brief look at the Wizarding World’s latest reference book.
The diary novel may be “an under-attended” genre, but Johannah King-Slutzky is trying to remedy that. In an essay for The Hairpin she traces the diary novel’s history from the Victorian era to Go Ask Alice while examining the genre’s balance of “melodrama and awkward moralizing” with the potential for subversion.
The Morning News continues its ongoing Reading Roulette series by sharing “A Light Head” by Olga Slavnikova. While the author is a contender for the 2013 Russian Booker Prize, TMN correspondent Elizabeth Kiem doesn’t need to wait to award “best line” to this little ditty: “The Russian dilemma posed by Dostoyevsky—‘Shall I let the world go to hell or skip my tea?’—has been resolved in favor of the tea.”
Recommended viewing: The New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik talks about his early years in New York writing for the magazine “though they simply weren’t aware of it, or when they were aware of it they were extremely unenthusiastic,” and about all the odd jobs that often make up a writer’s early career, something our own Emily St. James Mandel has written about before.
The Digital Reader rounded up a list based on Amazon’s end of year book sales. Some interesting factoids: Dan Brown‘s Origin: A Novel was the most read and gifted book this holiday season, and Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale was the year’s most borrowed book from Prime Reading. Pair with: our cheat sheet for Kindle (and other e-reader) owners.