Out this week: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid; South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion; All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg; Ill Will by Dan Chaon; The Accusation by Bandi; The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge; and American Berserk by our own Bill Morris. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
A group of Austrian artists aims to “reconfigure and recontextualize” a memorial to Austrian poet Josef Weinheber, who engaged in Nazi activities and wrote numerous pro-Hitler propaganda pieces. Michael Kaminer caught up with Eduard Freudmann, the leader of the Vienna-based push for recontextualization, who hopes to spark a debate “about how to proceed with the … artistic reconfiguration of a Nazi monument.”
Are books on the way to becoming luxury objects? At Salon, Daniel D’Addario makes a case that they are, explaining how a new aestheticism in book design points to a future in which books function mainly as art objects. (While we’re on the subject of book design, it’s a good time to look back on our U.S.-U.K. book cover battle.)
Nonfiction writing might work wonders for history books, but the heart of the genre is still the essay. In a piece for The Morning News Martin Connelly discusses his youthful resolution to be an essayist, which he quickly forgot and then gradually remembered. There are also ironic license plates, convicts and a baby, just to jazz everything up a little bit.
“Like actual endangered species, independent bookshops induce a fiercely protective kind of love; paradoxically, it’s often their precarity that saves them.” The Guardian profiles Philippe Ungar and Franck Bohbot, the men behind “We Are New York Indie Booksellers,” which features the 50 remaining indies in and around Manhattan. (Pair with: Janet Potter‘s history of bookstore love).