Out this week: Men and Apparitions by Lynne Tillman; The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst; The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat; The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas; Memento Park by Mark Sarvas; and The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg.
No matter what you think of the bookish offspring of the OED’s word of the year, you should know that Neil Gaiman gave the term "shelfie" some more press. While moving out of his house, the author took a “tragic shelfie,” aka a picture of his books packed away in boxes. (Related: our own Tess Malone reviewed Gaiman's latest book.) (h/t The Paris Review)
You might think the signs would be obvious. The buildings are organic, the sky is filled with dragons, and everyone you talk to speaks languages you’ve never heard of. But you may still need some help figuring out your environs. Herewith, a few ways to tell if you’re in a high-fantasy novel.
"Russian humor is to ordinary humor what backwoods fundamentalist poisonous snake handling is to a petting zoo. Russian humor is slapstick, only you actually die." Ian Frazier writes about the strange humor of Daniil Kharms for the New York Review of Books.
We’ve written a fair bit about the By the Book series at the Times. You can read a selection of the best entries in a collection published by the paper. This week, the series featured another novel guest: Alan Gilbert, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Sample quote: “I don’t seek out books about music. I’ve read them over the years, but somehow, as a genre, it isn’t something I am specifically looking for.”