Out this week: The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt; The Epiphany Machine by David Burr Gerrard; Like A Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina; Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne; The Dog’s Last Walk by Howard Jacobson; and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. For more on these and other new titles, go read our just-published book preview.
“Being a judge for the Man Booker prize has at times felt like being part of a team of archaeologists excavating some vast buried city. Once the dust has settled – after nine months of reading – you stand back to survey your labours and realise all that’s left is a small pile of gleaming fragments. I hadn’t expected the process to be quite so emotionally exhausting. Nor had I thought it would be quite so exhilarating.” In case you’re curious, a Man Booker Prize arbiter offers up his reflections on the judging process. See also: the shortlist itself, which has surprised many readers!
“How can you write a complete story without a conventional plot? We often hear that in short stories, the main character must change. But in some stories, including some by Grace Paley, the characters don’t change. Instead, her stories change the reader. You’re different by the time you reach the end.” We’ve told you about The Atlantic’s “By Heart” series plenty of times before. This week, it’s Alice Mattison, who touches on everything from character development to the strange stories of Grace Paley.
“It wasn’t our job to be aroused; it was our job to enhance literature meant to arouse our paying readers.” Kayleigh Hughes writes for Catapult about her year of editing e-erotica. You will learn myriad things from her account, such that publishers list “every sex act contained in every book, and the page on which those activities could be found, so that those in sales could properly categorize and organize the books for maximum success in the e-market.” And if your lust still requires further satiation, see also this account of writing the erotica itself.
What if the zodiac was based not on your birthday but on your favorite book in high school? If it were, and if your favorite book happened to be Lord of the Flies, we could guess that you are currently “researching masters programs and preparing for your fourth Burning Man.”
Pew Internet finds that tablet and e-reader ownership nearly doubled over the holiday gift-giving period 29% of Americans now own at least one of these digital reading devices. Meanwhile, the content producers keep rushing in, with NBC Universal launching an e-book arm and Apple’s textbook scheme netting 350,000 downloads in three days.