The Prince of Horror

"Hill had maintained a daily writing routine since age 13, completing four or five books as a teen and four more as an adult, and was now, at the cusp of 35, finally putting out a novel—a ghost story." GQ profiles Joe Hill about his writing, being the son of Stephen King, and finding success in his own right. From our archives: our own editor Lydia Kiesling's essay on King, nostalgia, and America.

A First for the Odyssey

The New York Times Magazine profiles Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate the Odyssey into English. Her translation is one of our most eagerly anticipated for November. "One way of talking about Wilson’s translation of the “Odyssey” is to say that it makes a sustained campaign against that species of scholarly shortsightedness: finding equivalents in English that allow the terms she is choosing to do the same work as the original words, even if the English words are not, according to a Greek lexicon, 'correct.'"

Move Beyond the One Dimensional Veteran

This Veterans Day David Abrams encourages authors and others in the media to move beyond the one-dimensional portrait of veterans or those currently serving in the military. "Far too often, those who serve are a collection of clichés from the far ends of the spectrum: either clean-cut, impossibly perfect heroes or PTSD-addled warriors ready to erupt in spree-shooting rage. The regular working class in camouflage are virtually invisible."  A necessary reminder for authors and readers.

YA Tackling Racial Injustice

In The Atlantic Adrienne Green reviews the growing number of Young Adult novels tackling racial injustice and how this increase on the topic is no coincidence. "Coming out of the crucible of the past few years—during which young people have been integral to pushing conversations about the unjustified killings of black men to the forefront—the novels capture the many ways that teens of color cope with prejudice, whether through activism or personal accountability or protest."
Curiosities, New Releases

Tuesday New Release Day: Gurba; Willis-Abdurraqib; Pochoda; McKibben; Homer; Weiner

Out this week: Mean by Myriam Gurba; They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib; Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda; Radio Free Vermont by Bill McKibben; a new translation of Homer's The Odyssey; and Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.

Sincerely, John Updike

"James Schiff, an associate professor of English at the University of Cincinnati, is working on a volume of Updike’s letters and has unearthed thousands of letters, postcards, and notes the author sent to complete strangers who wrote to him." The Guardian writes about an in-progress book of John Updike's letters that reveals how often the writer corresponded with not only his contemporaries, like John Barth and Joyce Carol Oates, but his readers as well. See also: an essay about the personal and literary relationship between Barth and Updike.

The Poem Heard Round the World

"It’s really strange to have the success of a poem be so directly tied to people processing grief. It’s a strange thing, because it’s a blessing and a curse." The Rumpus interviews poet Maggie Smith about her new collection, Good Bones, her viral poem that shares its name, and her craft. From our archives: Smith's collection was featured in our round-up of October's Must-Read Poetry.

And the Kirkus Prize Goes to…

The winners of the 2017 Kirkus Prize have been announced: Lesley Nneka Arimah's What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky for fiction; Jack E. Davis's The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea for non-fiction; and Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves for young reader's literature. See also: Arimah's short story collection was on our 2017 Great Book Preview.

A 20 Year Overnight Success

Joe Fassler interviews recent MacArthur Genius and Year-in-Reading alum Viet Thanh Nguyen on the myth of overnight success, balancing an academic career while still finding time to write novels and the sacrifices all writers must make. Over at Electric Literature.

Mary McCarthy’s Recycled Fiction

Perhaps best known for her fiction, specifically her classic The Group, Mary McCarthy became a novelist almost by chance. "McCarthy was good at recycling – a term which she used herself – and good, also, as she admitted, at plagiarizing her own life. Nevertheless, her fiction lives, and some of it has been highly influential."  Margaret Drabble takes us through McCarthy's major works of fiction, featured in Mary McCarthy: The Complete Fiction which was released this year in a deluxe collection for the very first time.