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.
Lydia Millet’s most recent novel, Magnificence, is the third in a trilogy, and a reminder of what a significant body of work she’s been building over the last decade. The Point offers the best overview of that work you’re likely to find anywhere. Millet’s “equal parts” Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen, writes Tom Dibblee, “but really she’s her own thing.”
Stephen Colbert is keeping his promise to Maurice Sendak. The comedian will publish his children’s book I Am a Pole (And So Can You!) this spring. “I hope the minutes you and your loved ones spend reading it are as fulfilling as the minutes I spent writing it,” Colbert told The Hollywood Reporter. (See also: Colbert’s equally literary meeting with Ann Patchett)
Tolstoy has a new book out. No, not that Tolstoy — Sofiya Tolstoy, wife of Leo Nikolayevich. Her long-lost novella, which languished for years in the Tolstoy Museum in Moscow, has finally been published, as part of an expanded edition of her husband’s The Kreutzer Sonata. At Slate, Ron Rosenbaum praises her story, calling it “graceful, emotionally intuitive and heartbreaking.” Related: 8 experts on whether Leo Tolstoy is better than Dostoevsky.
For those of you who were not on Twitter yesterday, the novelist Elizabeth McCracken tweeted a series of tips for applying to MFA fiction programs. Among other bits of good advice, she says it’s generally best to apply with a solid short story rather than a novel chapter.
“[I]f your kid isn’t reading yet, he won’t know you’re gender-swapping Elliot the elephant.” Lifehacker considers how to get boys to read so-called “girls’ books,” i.e., enjoy books with both male and female protagonists. Pair with T.K. Dalton‘s consideration of gender, childrearing, and reading.
It’s not often that a writer has an essay collection and a debut novel come out in the space of a few months, but that’s exactly the situation of Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay, whose novel An Untamed State and collection Bad Feminist are both getting published this year. At Bookforum, Margaret Weppler reads An Untamed State, which displays, she writes, “a staggering sense of strength, confidence and integrity.”