What did we read in the Obama era? Christian Lorentzen has some answers. Apart from individual books like The Flamethrowers and The Art of Fielding, he comes up with some genres that have dominated the past eight years, including autofiction, works of trauma and fables of meritocracy. (You can probably guess where Leaving the Atocha Station ends up.)
Self-published novelist Kemble Scott debuts at no. 5 on the San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller list with The Sower, following a limited hard-cover release to Bay Area independent booksellers by Numina Press, who acquired the book after Scott’s initial e-book upload to scribd.com in May. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “The Sower has had one of the most unorthodox publishing trajectories in these changing publishing times.”
“I don’t try to deliver a message, teach, inform or ‘give back’ in my books. I simply want to tell a story. My writing is totally separated from my activism and social service, which are channeled through my Foundation.” Megan Bradshaw interviews Isabel Allende for Asymptote Journal.
“I gave up on making a happy ending in the true sense a long time ago.” Japanese animator and film director Hayao Miyazaki is something of a legend. Over at The Literary Hub, Gabrielle Bellot takes a look at the expansive literary history of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli.
The huge, McSweeney’s-published, John Sayles novel A Moment in the Sun has been getting great reviews. It’s now out. Also new this week is China Mieville’s Embassytown, reviewed here today; Paul Theroux’s exploration of the genre of travel writing, The Tao of Travel; prizewinning Nigerian author Helon Habila’s new novel Oil on Water; and A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, the complete stories of Margaret Drabble, recently written up by Joyce Carol Oates in the New Yorker. New in paperback are a pair of Millions Hall of Famers, Emma Donoghue’s Room and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.