“Dear Mrs D, Thanks for your homework. Your idea of writing a Christmas ghost story was a good one, but it’s not really the kind of thing I tend to do — it’s a little bit too genre for my tastes. Try Kevin, who sits next to me. He loves that stuff.” Over at McSweeney’s, Nick Hornby advises his son on excuses for failing to hand in his English homework, excuses which Hornby learned are acceptable during a thirty-year career in journalism, books, and film.
RIP Robert Stone, who passed away at his home in Key West on Saturday. The author, who won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers, was 77. You can get a sense of his work by reading Tatjana Soli’s review of his story collection Fun with Problems.
“In a just world, every single person who was in favor of invading Iraq would have to read this book. It would be tattooed on the eyes of the invasion’s architects, force them to see everything through these writers’ words.” NPR reviews Iraq + 100: Stories from Another Iraq, a collection in which 10 Iraqi authors imagine their country 100 years into the future. See also our own review of literature about the war.
The 87th annual California Book Awards, which “recognizes the state’s best writers and illuminate the wealth and diversity of literature written in California,” announced this year’s finalists. The nominees include Rachel Khong‘s Goodbye, Vitamin, Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Refugees, and Zinzi Clemmons‘s What We Lose (here’s the full list). From our archives: The Millions’ interview with Khong.