Recommended Reading: Tabitha Blankenbiller responds to The New York Times’ piece on Manly Book Clubs. “Reading the article yet again, my pity for this dude squad begins to blossom. To think that they will head into the ground without the words of Terry Tempest Williams or Lidia Yuknavitch or Sandra Cisneros in their hearts.” For a bit of humor about a manly book club, check out our rock ‘n’ roll book club.
Would you rather be sentenced to almost eight years in prison or be forced to read Malcolm Gladwell? Convicted eco-terrorist Rebecca Rubin was sentenced to five years in prison and told to read Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The judge believes Rubin could learn non-violent protest from Gladwell. Pair with: Our own Michael Bourne’s review of the book.
Out this week: Mislaid by Nell Zink; A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me by David Gates; Odd Woman in the City by Vivian Gornick; The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North; The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry; Lifted by the Great Nothing by Karim Dimechkie; The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger; England and Other Stories by Graham Swift; and War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Though everyone is tired of the online critics are too nice/ do critics even matter debate cropping up everywhere as of late, Daniel Mendelsohn’s “Critic’s Manifesto” may be the best thing to come out of the conversation yet: a clear formulation of what it means to be a critic and why that matters.
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)