Out this week: Swing Time by Zadie Smith; Born a Crime by Trevor Noah; The China Sketchbook by I. Allen Sealy; Writing to Save a Life by John Edgar Wideman; The Abridged History of Rainfall by Jay Hopler; and Forever Words by the late Johnny Cash. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.
The second round of the Tournament of Literary Sex Writing, the aptly-named Erotic Eight, has kicked off over at The Literary Hub. This round is home to some downright ridiculous pairings (I’m looking at you, “Bram Stoker vs. James Baldwin as judged by Roxane Gay“) and the judges are as careful and attentive as ever.
This week the Band of Merry Men/Women that is of Football Book Club is reading Carmen Giménez Smith’s poetry collection Milk and Filth — and posting about Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction. Also: Check in later this week for possible guest posts by Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Also: There will be no guest posts by Ben Carson and Donald Trump.
Visual effects virtuoso Ray Harryhausen died this week at the age of 92. Harryhausen was first inspired to take up movie-making when he watched King Kong with his childhood friend Ray Bradbury, and his pioneering career spanned over forty years. Over at Vulture, you can check out a couple of his most well-known scenes. To my mind, though, his best work will always remain Galgo’s creepy, stretch-tastic wizard hand from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
Terrible sex writing spans the globe according to this year’s Bad Sex Award shortlist. It includes: My Education by Susan Choi, The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood, House of Earth by Woody Guthrie, Motherland by William Nicholson, The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt, The World Was All Before Them by Matthew Reynolds, The City of Devi by Manil Suri, and Secrecy by Rupert Thomson. The winner will be announced on December 3.
Is there an indie press that consistently punches up as high and as successfully as Two Dollar Radio? They’re the ones who unleashed The Orange Eats Creeps onto our shelves three years ago, and they followed it up shortly thereafter with the breakout work of Scott McClanahan. Now? Now they’re poised for a threepeat with Shane Jones’s Crystal Eaters, which has already earned its author interviews on Hobart and The Paris Review. (Bonus: TDR’s publisher on moving his outfit to Ohio.)
Overt at JSTOR Daily, Allana Mayer writes about visual literacy in the age of the Internet. As she explains it, “We have similar stories all throughout history: the moment when a perception—whether a literal way of seeing or a figurative mode of thinking—is assaulted and fundamentally shifts.” Pair with our own Bill Morris’s piece on the new Whitney Museum.
If you live in London, and you like the idea of a play in which “two women [try] to put on a one-woman play about Frida Kahlo in whom neither of them is really interested,” you should stop by the Bridge House Theatre, which is playing Chris Larner’s The Frida Kahlo of Penge West until November 23rd. At the LRB blog, Rosemary Hill provides a brief review.