Curiosities

Out of the Frying Pan

The Kindle edition of one of our Most Anticipated Books is on sale at $1.99. Our Man in Iraq, a novel by Robert Perišic, follows two Croatian cousins who manage to get caught up in the frenzy of the Iraq War. You can find out more in John Feffer’s interview with Perišic. (h/t Buzz Poole)
Curiosities

“A hustler wrote this?”

“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn't admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.
Curiosities

Smash the Gears

As evidenced by the amazing quiz “Jonathan Franzen Gripe or YouTube Comment about Saggy Pants,” a perception exists that the widely acclaimed writer is allergic to new technology. At Slate, Benjamin Nugent argues that Franzen’s new book, The Karl Kraus Project, proves inadvertently that Franzen is less of a Luddite than we think.
Curiosities

RIP Oscar Hijuelos

You may have heard that Pulitzer laureate Oscar Hijuelos passed away on Sunday at the age of 62. Hijuelos, who won the prize in 1990 for his novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, broke ground as the first Latino author to take home the prestigious award. On NPR, David Greene talks with Columbia professor Gustavo Perez Firmat about the author’s legacy. (Related: Thea Lim on people of color and American writing.)
Curiosities

Tuesday New Release Day: McCarthy, Phillips, Turow, Geni, Catton

Vintage International released Cormac McCarthy's screenplay for The Counselor, the new Ridley Scott film which our own Nick Moran wrote about on Saturday. Also out: Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips; Identical by Scott Turow; The Last Animal by Abby Geni and The Luminaries by Booker Prize shortlister Eleanor Catton, which Martha Anne Toll reviewed for us on Monday. (For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-half 2013 Book Preview.)
Curiosities

“Tell me: am I too distant”

Recommended Reading: Two poems – “Bottle Curve” and “Self-Portrait as Q Source” – by Justin Carter.
Curiosities

Remembering Seamus Heaney

On Monday, November 4th, Paul Muldoon, Colum McCann, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, and Jean Kennedy Smith will pay tribute to the recently deceased poet with a free, Off-Broadway production entitled Remembering Seamus: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Seamus Heaney.
Curiosities

The Sagrada Família’s New Completion Date

The Sagrada Família, which Antoni Gaudí began designing in 1883, is due to be completed in 2026. Recently, 60 Minutes aired a feature on the masterpiece envisioned by “God’s architect,” and a new video depicts the work still be done, as well as what the church will look like when it’s finally completed. You can also take a virtual tour of the interior  as well.
Curiosities

The NYRB Classics Spring 2014 Preview

NYRB Classics just released the first installment of their Spring 2014 Preview, and it features the likes of William H. Gass, Jean-Patrick Manchette, and Qiu Miaojin. Stay tuned for the second installment, which they say will come soon.
Curiosities

On the State of Syrian Publishing

The Syrian publishing industry is but one of the casualties in the nation’s ongoing civil war. “The whole of publishing is not more than 10 percent of what it was in the past,” says Samer al-Kadri who runs Bright Fingers Publishing House in Damascus.