paper trail

Orwell Prize finalists announced; Emma Straub on not feeling guilt about reading

Emma Straub. Photo: Jennifer Bastian

“There are plenty of things to feel guilty about in life—yelling at your kid, not putting a shopping cart back in the parking lot, sleeping with your best friend’s spouse—why put that on reading? If I could absolve readers of one thing, it would be this—feeling guilt about books that they like, and books that they don’t,” Emma Straub tells Literary Hub. “Ditch the guilt! Embrace excitement, and glee, about all the books you still have to read for the very first time.”

The New York Times Book Review rounds up the best of the summer’s upcoming books.

The shortlists for the Orwell Prizes in political writing and fiction were announced yesterday. Nominees include Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women, Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, and Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport. The winners will be announced in June.

Bill Clinton and James Patterson are working on another book together. The pair’s next thriller, The President’s Daughter, will be jointly published by Knopf and Little, Brown in June 2021.

For Slate, Ashley Feinberg points out the inconsistencies in Ben Smith’s column about Ronan Farrow. “Had Smith taken a more rigorous approach to presenting his findings, he would have undermined his own argument,” she writes. “So instead, Smith chose to perform broad-mindedness, sacrificing accuracy for some vague, centrist perception of fairness.” At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple weighs in on Farrow’s own admission that he may have overstated certain aspects of his reporting in the Weinstein story’s early stages. “By repeatedly exaggerating how he had buttoned down the Weinstein story at NBC News, Farrow casts his former bosses as incompetent and cowardly — or, better said, more incompetent and cowardly than they were,” he writes. “There was no need to stretch the case against NBC News when the underlying facts were sufficiently damning.”