Ursula K. Le Guin has died at the age of 88, according to the New York Times and Le Guin's family. The prolific science fiction and fantasy writer — best known for her Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness — explored themes like politics, gender, religion, and environmentalism. However, Le Guin wrote across genre and published over 20 novels, 100 short stories, 7 essay collections, 13 children's books, 5 volumes of translation, and a writer's guide. No stranger to awards, Le Guin most recently won the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Related Work for Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016. From our archives: The Millions interview with Le Guin from 2013.
Out this week: Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi; The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith; Brass by Xhenet Aliu; Eternal Life by Dara Horn; and Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Want to learn more about upcoming titles? Go read our most recent book preview. Want to help The Millions keep churning out great books coverage? Sign up to be a member today.
"Fiction is messier. Essay is, for me, an attempt at a kind of clarity. I have a very messy and chaotic mind, but when I’m writing an essay I find I can exert a bit more control over it.” The The Guardian published a Q&A with Zadie Smith with questions from fellow authors, politicians, and fans. Smith's upcoming essay collection, Feel Free, is featured in the first half of our 2018 Great Book Preview.
"Still, what he captured with genius was the ontological unease of a world in which the human and the abhuman, the real and the fake, blur together." An essay in the Boston Review argues the importance of Philip K. Dick's literature— where the real and fake intersect and collide — and the world we live in today. From our archive: on the pleasures of Dick's sometimes awful prose.
"The idea came to Mr. Mallory one night as he sat on his couch watching an old favorite, Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a lamp switch on in the apartment across the street." Published under a pseudonym, former executive editor Daniel Mallory's debut novel The Woman in the Window was acquired and published by his own imprint. Pair with: an essay about the emergence of "reimagined thrillers" that create characters out of setting.
February 1st is the application deadline for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Anisfield-Wolf Fellowship in Writing and Publishing. It's a two year post-graduate fellowship that offers $40,000 per year while you work on completing a second book or starting a first. Apply now!
The New York Times dives into why prisons fear the New Jim Crow certain states have gone to great efforts to allow their prisons to ban it and in other states it's fairly difficult to obtain if you're a prisoner. We're big fans of the New Jim Crow here; it was a Millions staff pick and extremely popular on Year in Reading lists back in 2013.
Out this week: Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee; The Infinite Future by Tim Wirkus; Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block; Wild Is the Wind by Carl Phillips; and The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by the late Denis Johnson. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
"But was I actually reading? I regarded myself as a reader, but were these really books?" In LitHub, James Tate Hill pens an essay about reading while visually impaired and the questions it raises in a print book obsessed world. Pair with: our own Bill Morris on hearing an actor narrate his novel's audiobook.