“The thriller, set in a dystopian future where women and girls can kill men with a single touch, was the favourite on a shortlist that included former winner Linda Grant and Man Booker-shortlisted Madeleine Thien.” Naomi Alderman’s The Power has become the first speculative work to nab the Baileys prize for women’s fiction, reports The Guardian, noting that the judges said Alderman’s book would be “a classic of the future.” See also: a few years back we highlighted a collaboration between Alderman and Year in Reading alum Margaret Atwood, a comic zombie novel that you can still read in its entirety here.
“That’s always been part of my goal — to show the dark side of women. Men write about bad men all the time, and they’re called antiheroes. … What I read and what I go to the movies for is not to find a best friend, not to find inspirations, not necessarily for a hero’s journey. It’s to be involved with characters that are maybe incredibly different from me, that may be incredibly bad but that feel authentic.” Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed talk with The New York Times about the adaptations for Gone Girl, Wild, and writing credible characters. Their conversation pairs well with our own Edan Lepucki‘s essay on likability in fiction.
“America has always been built—and continues to be built—by those the establishment keeps invisible.” Public Books runs the sixth installment of its “An Engineer Reads a Novel” series, this time taking on Colson Whitehead‘s Underground Railroad and John Henry Days. We also recently reviewed the former, which has been blessed by both Oprah Winfrey and President Obama.
The Columbia Spectator is about to embark on “a list of 50 books that we think capture the essence of each state.”Daniel Menaker, former head of Random House, is set to host a new internet literary talk show called “Titlepage.” It will be modeled after “‘Apostrophes,’ a popular French literary program; ‘The Charlie Rose Show’ on public television; and ‘Dinner for Five,’ in which a group of actors discussed their craft, on the Independent Film Channel.” Guests on the first show include Richard Price and literary it-boy Charles Bock.Quite a resource: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Among the many entries: Death, God and Other Necessary Beings, Nothingness.We Feel Fine: Art from the hive mind.Landscape Urbanism Bullshit GeneratorFree Rice: procrastination fun for those with big vocabularies.The Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Gallery image database – huge, searchable collection of historical images of London, from which one can order prints.The Port Huron Statement, a part of the UVA Sixties ProjectTen Recurring Economic Fallacies – Put to rest “The Broken Window,” “The Beneficence of War,” and more.
Man Booker judge Colin Thubron expressed frustration with gushing book blurbs, which he says “almost blackmail” readers: “you’re either intellectually or morally incompetent if you don’t love this book or you’ve failed if you haven’t understood it.” Our own Bill Morris tackled the age old question—”To Blurb or not Blurb”—a few years ago.