Out this week: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney; The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson; The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan; Terrible Virtue by Ellen Feldman; Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett; and Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Recommended reading: a new, previously undiscovered story and accompanying poem by Charlotte Brontë. The story is rife with flogging and embezzlement–all the good stuff! Here’s a bonus piece on how Charlotte is at least partly responsible for the success of the Bronte sisters as a whole.
Could this be the start of a trend? HarperCollins paid the singer Billy Joel $3 million for a memoir back in 2008. Joel wrote The Book of Joel, the publisher edited it, and a June publication date was set. Last week, however, Joel abruptly backed out of the deal and apparently will return the portion of the advance he’s been paid. His reason? He told the Associated Press he “was not all that interested in talking about the past.”
I have a short story in the latest issue of Avery, a young literary magazine I’ve written about before. Avery 4 also includes fiction by Hannah Tinti, Kevin Canty, Rumaan Alam, Samar Fitzgerald, Sophie Rosenblum, Scott Garson, Callie Collins, James Iredell, Jessica Breheny, Sean Walsh, Anna Villegas, and Michael Bourdaghs. It’s wonderful to have found my story such a sleek and beautiful home, filled with so much good company.Here’s the opening of my tale, called “A Love to Calm the Body”: My grandmother fell in love with her doctor. She liked the way he scrubbed his hands. He also washed his forearms, held them wet in front of his body before taking them to the towel. My grandmother had a weekly appointment; she’d been diagnosed with Hysteria – an excess of emotion, a deep feminine sadness. This was in 1899, when my grandmother was twenty-three, two years married. My mother was only an idea then, hovering at the edges. I wasn’t anything at all.Want to read more? You can order the issue online here.
“Symptoms included a frenzy for culling and hunting down first editions, rare copies, books of certain sizes or printed on specific paper.” Lauren Young writes in Atlas Obscura about the phenomenon of bibliomania, “a dark pseudo-psychological illness” that afflicted upper-class victims in Europe and England during the 1800s. And for a first-hand account of more contemporary book theft, read John Brandon on his high school pastime: “The first time was nerve-racking, a rush, but by the third book I was already settling in.”