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Amitav Ghosh on his new novel; Books for getting through the holidays

Amitav Ghosh. Photo: Ivo van der Bent

Amitav Ghosh talks to First Draft about what he wants readers to take away from his new novel, Gun Island. “I want them to come away with . . . the sense that the world is much stranger than we think, and the ways in which our world is changing is itself very strange, very uncanny, and very disturbing,” he said. “We have to try to grapple with it and make sense of it.”

In the New York Times Book Review, Parul Sehgal looks at how women’s anger has featured in the novels of the last decade. “With their deep unconventionality, their ire, intensity and excess, they have spurred debates about the narrow roles allotted to women — fictional women at that — many of whom have faced criticism for being unlikable, even dangerous,” she writes. “Much of the work about women and rage in the last 10 years seems to bespeak a frustration with femaleness itself, as a condition of unbearable narrowness and painful constriction.”

Entertainment Weekly’s David Canfield offers a guide to the 2019 literary awards season.

The Guardian wonders if it’s really possible that Mary Beard works over a hundred hours per week, as she recently claimed. “There are only 168 hours in a week, after all,” they write. “If Beard sleeps a bare minimum of six hours a night, and works through every single weekend, that leaves about three and a half hours a day for everything that isn’t work.”

The New York Times lists books that can offer “moral support” for dealing with family during Thanksgiving. “We just want you to be prepared for the inevitable: like relatives bickering over politics. Or know-it-all siblings second-guessing your brining technique,” they write. “When the going gets rough, nothing is more soothing than a good book, especially one where people survive stressful celebrations.”