“Baker is such a wonderful prose stylist that he could probably get away with publishing his diary—which, for epic stretches, is what Substitute feels like.” Over at The Nation, Evan Kindley reviews Nicholson Baker‘s latest, a 700-plus-page non-fiction exploration of substitute teaching. Spoiler: it’s not as sexy as Baker’s other work. If it’s the sex you want, see our primer on Baker’s novels; also immensely entertaining, our interview with the author from 2013.
Appearing Elsewhere: VQR Young Reviewers Contest winner and Millions contributor Emily drops by the NBCC blog to tell them what she’s been reading.The NY Times fleshes out some of the details of Google’s digitizing agreement with publishers and authors, including getting into some of the numbers involved. We explained the importance of the deal last year.At Jacket Copy Carolyn Kellogg gets Sarah Weinman to discuss the secrets behind her incredible speed-reading ability. (462 books in 2008!)Carolyn also recently highlighted all the great literary magazines that supplied the featured stories in last year’s “best of” fiction anthologies, as well as the runners up.80 years after the last one, a new Winnie the Pooh book is on its way.A timely and topical list: the Top 10 green books of 2008For the multi-tasker (or perhaps the really lazy): the book holder bracelet.”Had I an atheist friend who asked, ‘Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?’ I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead. ‘Read this,’ I’d say, ‘and it will give you a pretty good idea.'”For sports fans: Bill James on why statisticians should boycott the BCS.That perilous question: why blog?Vice did a fiction issue.David Brooks discusses some of the best long-form journalism of 2008 (with links!)The outgoing president’s surprising reading list.The Hype Machine’s impressive top albums of 2008 project.Wikipedia find of the week: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffaloA consideration of poet Jack Spicer.With apologies to William Carlos Williams, A poem for Blago.New short fiction from Horacio Castellanos Moya, author of Senselessness (via Scott)Jonathan Franzen on the Social Novel (via OUP blog)
While millions of teenage girls and grown women (see the Twilight Moms blog if you don’t believe me) wait with bated breath for the November 20th premier of New Moon (see the preview here), the film version of the second installment of Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight series, some less satisfied readers are making movies of their own–movies in which they beat, burn, and otherwise insult copies of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. See Burn, Twilight, Burn!, Twilight Burning, with Techno, The Twilight Chainsaw Massacre, Twilight Baseball. And that’s only for starters. I also like this one, Twilight Burning Party, in which two spunky Ghost World-y young ladies, Cassi and Angel, do a little stand-up literary critique before burning the book.
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukhergee, which was just shortlisted for the 2014 Booker Prize, will be released in the US at the beginning of October. If you just can’t wait another two weeks, an excerpt is now available online. For more about the 2014 Booker Prize, read our coverage of the longlist announcements here.