Out this week: A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin; Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma; Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka; Hide by Matthew Griffin; The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy; Why They Run The Way They Do by Susan Perabo; We’ve Already Gone This Far by Patrick Dacey; and Perfect Days by Raphael Montes. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Susannah Hunnewell interviews Michel Houellebecq, France’s controversial literary icon, for The Paris Review’s “The Art of Fiction” series: “There is a need for intensity. From time to time, you have to forsake harmony. You even have to forsake truth. You have to, when you need to, energetically embrace excessive things.”
Over at Salon, Matt Zoller Seitz talks about his new book Mad Men Carousel and why audiences felt such a profound attachment to the protagonists. Despite their flaws, Seitz argues that it is the consistency in their behavior that endeared us to characters like Don and Betty, literal misfits though they were. Still having trouble admitting the show is over? This may help.
Geoff Dyer is fond of taking potshots at literary academics. He devotes considerable time in one of his novels to a professor whose speech at a conference goes off the rails. Which is why it’s odd that, in mid-July, the author showed up at a conference devoted to — what else? — his own work. (It’s apropos to point out here that our own Mark O’Connell wrote a great essay for Slate about Dyer.)
The Oscar Blog: Ed has recruited Scott, YPTR, Elizabeth Crane, Jeff, Gwenda, Mark and several others to “live blog” the Oscars on Sunday. I’m convinced that no good can come of this… but you can bet I’ll be reading along.I’ll read what ever Malcolm Gladwell writes, but his 2-part conversation with ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons on sports (and many other topics) is particularly entertaining.I’m a huge fan of the Comics Curmudgeon blog, which hilariously skewers the newspaper funnies. Now Josh has hit the big time. He’ll be skewering political cartoons for Wonkette.The winners of the 2005 Book Critics Cirle Award will be announced tonight. Here are the finalists.Brokeback Mountain (video link) in Bun-O-Vision.
In the late 1860s, James Crichton-Browne, director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, gave Charles Darwin a collection of photographic portraits depicting the “afflicted and insane.” What followed was a six-year relationship in which both men corresponded about “the physical manifestations of natural selection.”