Out this week: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi; Gone with the Mind by Mark Leyner; Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta; High Dive by Jonathan Lee; Crazy Blood by T. Jefferson Parker; We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenridge; Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume; and The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
December 15th. New York City. Mark your calendars. John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower discuss "the art of the essay in light of Sullivan's new book, Pulphead."
Ladbrokes, the popular bookmaker, has correctly predicted the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature with “a 50 percent accuracy rate” over the past eight years. This remarkable record is noteworthy because the oddsmakers do not actually read any of the books, and they do not go about “forming an opinion about the relative merits of each author.” Instead, the folks responsible for each year’s odds “appl[y] a numerical value to things like industry chatter, an author’s nationality, historical precedent.” So, that in mind, how confident do you feel about Haruki Murakami’s chances?
We take it for granted that our language will grow and change. But one thing we think less often about is that our alphabet is subject to the same forces. Herewith, Carlos Lozada reads Michael Rosen’s new book Alphabetical, which delves into the origins and future prospects of our writing system.
Over at The Atlantic, Lydia Millet argues for the power and legitimacy of The Lorax's moral message. Millet believes that the heavy-handedness of activist-minded fiction like The Lorax is powerful partly due to "its shamelessness. It pulls no punches; it wears its teacher heart on its sleeve."
Michael Seidlinger writes on how consciousness occurs online. As he puts it, “We have all become Sisyphus, pushing our rocks up a hill littered with hyperlinks and tweets, perpetually, futilely, refreshing the page of existence.” Pair with this Millions piece on the best of literary Twitter.