“Four years after first announcing the decision to open the prize to Americans, the Booker is virtually indistinguishable from its competitors. It is exactly what many feared it would become: corporate and daft.” Alex Shephard writing for The New Republic about why the Man Booker Prize isn’t interesting anymore. Still, should you want to know who’s shortlisted this year, here’s our roundup.
Claudia Rakine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, which won the Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was included in our own list of “Nine Books for the Post-Ferguson Era,” has been adapted for the stage, and previews are beginning in Los Angeles. Graywolf, the independent press behind Citizen, The Empathy Exams and On Immunity: An Inoculation, has interviewed the playwright behind the adaptation about the project and his process. As he explains it, “what makes the book—and the theatre piece—unique is that they expose and illuminate the small, sometimes unintended, and unconscious acts of everyday racism. Subtle, insidious, soul-crushing.”
The Morning News is asking writers to visit restaurants and then write about the experience, so long as the piece they write adheres to two criteria: “1) it is a restaurant review” and “2) it is not a restaurant review.” First on deck: Roxane Gay, whose novel Untamed State was recently reviewed for our site.
On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren’t the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London’s Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city’s tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what’s possibly the world’s most open lending library.
Coming this fall: a newly published autobiography that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote before she decided to retool her life story into the Little House on the Prairie books. Originally intended for an adult audience, Pioneer Girl gives a decidedly unsanitized account of Ingalls Wilder’s life, including love triangles, deadbeat fathers and episodes of drunken abuse. In The Telegraph, Rosa Prince compiles a preview of the new book.
Over at the New Republic Year in Reading alum William Giraldi writes his “Confessions of a Catholic Novelist,” and they include ruminations on Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy, as well as on the inevitable impact being raised in the Church has on his own work and the writing of many, many others. Giraldi’s essay pairs very well with the work of our own Nick Ripatrazone, who has reviewed Giraldi’s Hold the Dark, written about teaching Flannery O’Connor to high school students, and just this week discussed the current state of independent Catholic literature.
Did you know that a new Jonathan Safran Foer book is coming out this week? We didn’t until we saw a mention of it at Kottke. More surprising is the form of the book itself. Foer has created a new work called Tree of Codes by cutting out sections of one of his favorite books, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Shulz. The die-cut, Kindle-proof volume is the first major title by London-based Visual Editions. Vanity Fair has more.