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The National Book Award has announced its longlist for fiction and nonfiction; Jo Livingstone on The Rings of Power

Still from The Rings of Power. Photo: Amazon.  

The National Book Award has announced its longlist for fiction and nonfiction. The finalists will be announced on October 4th. Eight of the ten nominated works of fiction were debuts.   

On September 30th, Bookforum will host a Brooklyn Bookfest event, “Sports Annotated,” based on our summer issue about sports and literature. The panel will feature poet Ross Gay, critic Lindsay Zoladz, and novelist Miranda Popkey in discussion with moderator Thomas Beller. You can get your free tickets to the online event here.

The US Verso Books union has ratified its contract after sixteen months of negotiation. On Twitter, the Verso Books US Guild said, “It is a contract we’re proud of, one produced by staff support and stubbornness, the commitments of our house and of the solidarity that you showed.” 

For the New Yorker, Jo Livingstone reviews Amazon’s new show, The Rings of Power, a prequel to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Livingstone notes the parallels with HBO’s own prequel, House of the Dragon, based on Tolkien acolyte George R. R. Martin’s book. They write that both shows are not flattered by comparisons: “‘House of the Dragon’ makes ‘The Rings of Power’ seem sexless and low on jokes, whereas the latter makes the former’s landscapes and battle scenes look cheap beside its wild mountain ranges and glorious ocean scenes.”

Erin Somers profiles Joyce Carol Oates for Bustle. Oates’s novel Blonde is being adapted into a Netflix show premiering in late September and Babysitter, her latest novel—one of more than fifty—was published last month. Somers also theorizes about why Oates is so infamous on Twitter: “One, [her tweets] are genuinely funny and/or incendiary. Two, the platform rewards overreaction. Three, it is likely that many people reacting to her public persona, especially younger people, have not read her. They have little context for her other than the way she presents on Twitter, which is as an elder statesperson of literature, who behaves like a shitposter.”