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The finalists for the 2019 John Leonard Prize have been announced

Jia Tolentino

In our favorite podcast of the week, book critic Parul Sehgal discusses Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley series with Terry Castle, Gillian Flynn, and Hanya Yanagihara. Highlight: when Alexander Chee compares Ripley to Bugs Bunny.

Oprah magazine has posted a list of “31 LGBTQ Books That’ll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020.” Included on the list are novels by Garth Greenwell and Ilana Masad, poetry collections by Danez Smith and Mark Bibbins, debuts by Kate Milliken and Tomasz Jedrowski, memoirs by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Paul Lisicky, genre-defying work by Jenn Shapland, and more.

Speaking of best-of lists, David Gutowski, the mastermind behind the Largehearted Boy website, is aggregating ALL the best-books-of-the-year lists he can find.

French author Virginie Despentes talks about her novel Vernon Subutex, a best-seller in Europe, which was just published in the US: “A lot of Vernon’s traits, his ways of reacting to the world, come from close friends of mine, but they also come directly from me. In our teenage years we really built our whole lives around punk, hardcore, and hip-hop cultures—and I myself oscillate between considering it all a fantastic gift or a complete catastrophe.”

The National Book Critics Circle has announced the finalists for its 2019 John Leonard Prize for the Best First Book. Fleishman Is In Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner; The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom; The Unpassing, by Chia-Chia Lin; Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, by T Kira Madden; Disappearing Earth, by Julia Phillips; Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, by Jia Tolentino, and Lot, by Bryan Washington.

On December 19, Book Show in Los Angeles will show an adaptation of Michelle Tea’s cult classic Valencia. Michelle Tea and other artists who worked on the film—including Clement Hil Goldberg, Cary Cronenwett, Sharon Barnes Rubinstein—will be on hand to discuss the project.