As a child, Xiaolu Guo hunted birds and toads to survive. Now, as a writer in Britain, she’s written a memoir about her difficult childhood, which you can read more about in this review in The New Statesman. Sample quote: “Perhaps it is no coincidence that the reason that Guo gives for deciding to write in English is to be free of Chinese government censorship, a process that she describes as the wearing down of a rock’s sharp edges to a smooth pebble.”
This year is all about #readwomen2014 and #weneeddiversebooks. Faint Promise of Rain, the debut novel from Anjali Mittar Duva, satisfies all these criteria. The book is just out from SheWrites press and is set in the turbulent, caste-driven setting of the Mughal empire. Read an excerpt over at Bloom.
Why are women the primary consumers of true crime literature while an overwhelming majority of the genre showcases violence towards women? Over at Hazlitt, Casey Johnston has a few ideas about this seemingly irreconcilable paradox. Here is a complementary piece by Ujala Sehgal for The Millions on the female True Detectives of literature.
Need some more poetry in your life? Catch up on the year’s best collections. At Page-Turner, Dan Chiasson chooses nine books he predicts will be read in a hundred years, including Corridor by Saskia Hamilton and Go Giants by Nick Laird. FYI, I wrote a Curiosity about one of Chiasson’s picks.
Just because Beowulf's influence on Tolkien isn't news doesn't mean the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's translation of the epic poem this week isn't exciting. But while Tolkien's name alone may be enough for the serious fan, Ethan Gilsdorf at the New York Times has given general readers an introduction to the history of the new translation complete with some insight into Tolkien's love of the epic poem.