Amazon has unveiled its Best Books of 2017 list. Dive in!
In 1993, River Phoenix was working on Dark Blood, an independent film that was supposed to be the underdog surprise of the year. But when Phoenix died three weeks before shooting was supposed to wrap, the project stopped in its tracks. Now, almost 20 years later, the original director and editor are piecing the bits together, and they plan on screening it at the Netherlands Film Festival in September.
“I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends.” Go and check out this fascinating profile of Ben Rhodes, the “Boy Wonder of the Obama Whitehouse,” who dropped out of his second year at NYU’s M.F.A. program after witnessing the attacks on September 11th to take up a life of international affairs and foreign policy. When asked about whom he would choose write the story of his work life, Rhodes picked novelist Don DeLillo: “He is the only person I can think of who has confronted these questions of, you know, the individual who finds himself negotiating both vast currents of history and a very specific kind of power dynamics. That’s his milieu. And that’s what it’s like to work in the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus in 2016.”
New this week: The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud, A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and three newly translated books from by Icelandic author Sjón: The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, and From the Mouth of the Whale. New in paperback is The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.
We fully expect all Christmas-observant Millions readers to have gifted (and received) at least one book this week. The Toast expects the same of their readers, and have provided a very handy key to choosing and/or deciphering passive-agressive literary presents.
The 87th annual California Book Awards, which “recognizes the state’s best writers and illuminate the wealth and diversity of literature written in California,” announced this year’s finalists. The nominees include Rachel Khong‘s Goodbye, Vitamin, Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Refugees, and Zinzi Clemmons‘s What We Lose (here’s the full list). From our archives: The Millions’ interview with Khong.