• Joanna Neborsky's illustration from “To Have is to Owe” by David Graeber, from Triple Canopy.
    December 08, 2010

    Dec 8, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Following the unveiling of Google’s e-bookstore on Monday, Amazon announces Kindle for the Web.

    At Triple Canopy, David Graeber’s essay on debt, “To Have is to Owe,” is ingeniously illustrated by Joanna Neborsky. The result is an intriguing example of innovative online publishing—a reading experience that draws you in like print, with the flash and frisson of the web.

    The Millions’s Year in Reading series provides one of the best collections of end-of-the-year book lists we’ve seen, with picks from Lynne Tillman, Emma Donoghue, Anthony Doerr, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Elliott, and more.


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  • December 07, 2010

    Dec 7, 2010 @ 1:00:00 pm

    Borders, Barnes, and Noble? A large stakeholder in the Borders Group, the investment firm Pershing Square Capital Management, has a plan to merge the struggling bookstore chain with its slightly less beleaguered competitor, Barnes and Noble.

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  • December 07, 2010

    Dec 7, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Google launched its long-awaited e-book venture yesterday, cleverly integrating their new e-book shop within the already popular Google Books. “Reading Unbound,” the G-sages branded the service (with a nod to Aeschylus), explaining that “Google eBooks are stored in the cloud, so there is no file to download if you want to read on your computer, phone, or tablet.” The three million e-books already available can be read on most devices that aren’t a Kindle. Google's e-book rating system will be based on reviews from the online bookworm community Goodreads. The American Booksellers Association

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  • Rachel Dewoskin
    December 06, 2010

    Dec 6, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    At HTMLGIANT Roxane Gay bemoans the lack of diversity in this year’s Best American Short Stories, writing "segregation is alive and well when it comes to what we read," and challenges readers to name five black, Asian, and Latino authors. The Rumpus responds. The Economist, apparently unconcerned with the idea of gender balance, has blithely posted its best books of the year list, with no women authors in the fiction or poetry categories (a remarkable oversight in a year when books like Room, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Inferno, Nox, et al., were published) and with women making up only ten

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  • Barry Hannah
    December 03, 2010

    Dec 3, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    This weekend, Bob Dylan aficionados will converge on Manhattan’s 14th Street Y for events exploring his watershed work with The Band. There’s a photo exhibition tonight, and a symposium and concert on Sunday. The participants are a freewheelin’ mix, including authors such as Greil Marcus, Christopher Ricks, and Dana Spiotta, filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, and musicians from the bands The Fiery Furnaces and John Wesley Harding, as well as William G. Scheele, a curator and photographer who worked as the group’s roadie.

    Beginning at midnight on Sunday, Kyle Minor of the blog HTMLGIANT will be reading

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  • Thomas Frank
    December 02, 2010

    Dec 2, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Google’s long-delayed e-book venture, Google Editions, is reportedly gearing up to launch in the next month. “Google Editions hopes to upend the existing e-book market by offering an open, ‘read anywhere’ model that is different from many competitors.” Most notably Amazon.

    Michel Houellebecq borrows freely from Wikipedia in his new Prix Goncourt-winning La carte et le territoire. Is it copyright violation? And if it isn’t, is it OK to put Houellebecq’s entire novel online for free? One blogger thinks so...

    Critic and poet Stephen Burt’s answer to the question “What can a book review do for

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  • Stuart Murdoch
    December 01, 2010

    Dec 1, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Stuart Murdoch, the front man for Scottish band Belle and Sebastian, has a new book called The Celestial Café, a collection of diaries and ruminations from 2002-2006. Don’t let Murdoch’s reputation for being insufferably twee—or his disclaimer that his new volume is “very light on the subjects of drug taking, orgies and general debauchery"—dissuade you from reading. Murdoch's lyrics demonstrate a razor-sharp wit and a penchant for self-deflating satire, and is peerless at describing the everyday trials of the self-conscious, literary, and shy; we can't wait to see what he does in prose.


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  • Rowan Somerville
    November 30, 2010

    Nov 30, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    We were rooting for Tony Blair's former spin-doctor, Alastair Campbell, to win the prize most writers try to avoid like the Clap: The Literary Review’s Bad Sex award. However, Campbell was outdone in the contest for supreme raunchy ridiculousness by Rowan Somerville, whose book The Shape of Her won the dubious honor. Somerville has joined elite company—including Norman Mailer, John Updike, and Tom Wolfe—in part for a passage that compared an act of copulation to "a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin."

    Salon.com is looking for a possible buyer to help slow the

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  • Jennifer Gilmore
    November 29, 2010

    Nov 29, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    We were cheered to see Justin Spring’s Secret Historian, Jennifer Gilmore’s Something Red, Elif Batuman’s The Possessed, and many other worthy titles on the New York Times's 100 notable books of 2010 list. The omissions, however, were sometimes inexplicable (Tom McCarthy’s novel C), and often indicative of how unadventurous the paper of record’s books section is these days (nothing like Eileen Myles’s Inferno or Joshua Cohen’s Witz in sight). Reading the list, we wondered: Is there a Times quota for mid-century baseball biographies?

    The first batch of Vladimir Nabokov’s love letters to his

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  • Eileen Myles, photo by Leopoldine Core.
    November 24, 2010

    Nov 24, 2010 @ 1:00:00 pm


    “If you’re interested in poetry, I’ll give you lesbianism, and if you’re interested in lesbianism, I’ll give you poetry.”

    Inferno is the latest book by poet, novelist, essayist, performer, and one-time presidential hopeful Eileen Myles. (It’s true, she ran as a write-in candidate in 1992.) Eileen did not call Inferno a memoir, even though it sort of is. Maybe one could call it a remembrance. Eileen calls it a novel. In the process of remembering, she lets go a frantic and enlightened rush of recall, impressions, and wit. Loosely modeled on Dante, the novel traces

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  • Tom Waits
    November 24, 2010

    Nov 24, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The Guardian reports that the sublimely gruff-voiced singer Tom Waits is publishing his first book of poetry, Hard Ground, a collaboration with photographer Michael O'Brien. In a 1975 interview Waits said, "I don't like the stigma that comes with being called a poet . . . So I call what I'm doing an improvisational adventure or an inebriational travelogue."

    The tired thesis that poetry is on the decline is being posited again by Joseph Epstein in Commentary magazine. Why does that sound so familiar?

    Rand Paul has scored a book deal with Hachette Book Group’s Center Street division. The tome,

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