Out this week: She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore; Crudo by Olivia Laing; Ordinary People by Diana Evans; The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman; The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar; and The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre.
Would you rather be sentenced to almost eight years in prison or be forced to read Malcolm Gladwell? Convicted eco-terrorist Rebecca Rubin was sentenced to five years in prison and told to read Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The judge believes Rubin could learn non-violent protest from Gladwell. Pair with: Our own Michael Bourne’s review of the book.
You may have not known there’s a national arm wrestling championship. Joshua Davis found out when he saw an eye-catching flyer. When he found himself drafted onto Team USA, he turned the experience into his first big magazine piece. At The Rumpus, an interview with the author of Spare Parts.
Jonathan Franzen knows a lot about birds. The novelist competed on Jeopardy’s “Power Players Week” alongside Chuck Todd and S.E. Cupp as part of a variation on the Celebrity Jeopardy theme. Franzen flubbed a few questions about Shakespeare which, ironically, served to help dispel some of the “old curmudgeon” reputation that has followed him for years. This piece from The Millions on the case for non-Ikea writing in the Age of Franzen might interest you.
Out this week: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg; Muse by Jonathan Galassi; The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida; Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave; The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus; The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein; A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay; I’d Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them by Jesse Goolsby; The Loved Ones by Mary-Beth Hughes; A History of Money by Alan Pauls; Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly; and Bitter Bronx by Jerome Charyn. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Talk about burying the lede. This article about Alec Baldwin’s return to television acting, and how he’ll be playing “a Rob Ford-type mayor of New York,” doesn’t make a big deal out of the show’s pilot writer. But it should. Because his name is Wells Tower.
Why would anyone write a book anonymously? Maria Bustillos ponders anonymity at The New Yorker. “Anonymous is more than a pseudonym. It is a stark declaration of intent: a wall explicitly thrown up, not only between writer and reader, but between the writer’s work and his life.”
Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)