“This is how he justified what he did even as he knew what kind of parent he’d become, the kind that used to make him gag as recently as two months ago. The ones who blithely assumed their online friends were gluttons for punishment. Here’s my baby lying on his back! And here’s my baby also lying on his back! And how about this one: blurry baby on his back! Good God, the vanity of it all, the epic self-centeredness. He knew all this, and still he uploaded eleven pictures of Brian.” An excerpt of Victor LaValle’s new novel The Changeling. (You could also read our interview with the author from last year.)
“Well, is ‘addiction’ what a literary writer should want in readers? And if a writer accepts such addiction, or even rejoices in it, as Murakami seems to, doesn’t it put pressure on him, as pusher, to offer more of the same?” Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers who keep producing more of the same to please hungry readers.
Few things are more individual than your feelings about e-books. Dustin Illingworth can’t stand them -- as he puts it, “books are meant to be handled and smelled.” At Full-Stop, he writes about what this preference reveals about himself. You could also read our tribute to e-book pioneer Michael Hart.
New this week: Flings by Justin Taylor; We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar; Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher; and a new translation of a French children’s book by Lydia Davis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
"In contemporary capitalist societies, libraries stand out as slightly odd. While people are generally accustomed to going into a store and having to pay if they plan on leaving with something – in a library this relationship is quite different.” From AirBnB to Zipcar, startups premised on the so-called "sharing economy" tout themselves as radical and disruptive. Except that another institution – the public library – has been offering communal property for hundreds of years. Not that the circumstances are always ideal, as our own Jacob Lambert attests in his "Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book."
You may have heard that our own Emily St. John Mandel has a new book on shelves. The book depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which a group of nomadic actors deal with the aftermath of a devastating flu pandemic. Claire Cameron (who’s also written for The Millions) reviews the book for The Globe and Mail.