• Kristen Arnett. Photo: Maria Jones
    December 03, 2019

    The New Yorker's best books of the year; Lore Segal's “complicated love letter” to her editors

    The New Yorker's Katy Waldman lists her best books of 2019. Favorites include Kristen Arnett's Mostly Dead Things, Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House, and Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other.

    Two members of a Nobel Prize in Literature reform committee resigned yesterday, The Guardian reports. According to the paper, one of the departing members left because “the work to change the culture in the Swedish Academy was taking too long.”

    The Maris Review talks to Lane Moore about trauma, experience, and her new memoir, How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t. “With the

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  • December 02, 2019

    Hilton Als on Joan Didion's early novels

    Australian critic, poet, and TV personality Clive James died last week. The author of many books (including Cultural Amnesia, which included appreciations of modern artists and thinkers, and a tribute to Philip Larkin), reviews, as well as pieces on Princess Diana, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and much, much more, James was funny, insightful, and deeply influential. A 2003 profile of James by A.O. Scott was titled “The Hungriest Critic of All.” According to Leo Robson in the New Statesman: “The writer I wanted to learn from was Clive James.” His writing is “alive in every phrase,” says Adam Gopnik

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  • Jill Filipovic
    November 27, 2019

    Jill Filipovic writing new book; The New York Public Library's best books of the year

    Jill Filipovic is writing a new book. OK Boomer: Let’s Talk: Dispatches from a Generational Divide will “look beyond the ‘humorous meme’ and explore issues such as student debt, healthcare and climate change.” OK Boomer will be published by One Signal Books in late 2020.

    The New York Public Library has released its list of the one hundred best books of 2019. The top ten includes Sally Rooney’s Normal People, Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Thick.

    At Literary Hub, Tarisai Ngangura explores the storytelling legacies of Jay-Z and Rakim and reflects

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  • Amitav Ghosh. Photo: Ivo van der Bent
    November 26, 2019

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

    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

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  • Christopher Hitchens
    November 25, 2019

    Sontag, Hitchens, and More: Revisiting Lectures Given at the New York Institute for the Humanities

    Eric Banks and Robert Boynton have started posting recordings of lectures that have been given at the New York Institute for the Humanities. A few highlights so far: Ryszard Kapuscinski’s 2004 discussion of Herodotus, Susan Sontag’s 1977 lecture on “Illness as Metaphor,” and James Fenton’s interview of Christopher Hitchens about the latter’s memoir Hitch-22. You can find those recordings and more here.

    The New York Times spotlights New Jersey’s Montclair Book Center, a 9,000-square-foot “throwback to a funkier, more literate time,” which is stocked with hundreds of thousands of best sellers,

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  • Deborah Levy. Photo: Sheila Burnett
    November 22, 2019

    Andrew Kirtzman writing biography of Rudy Giuliani; Deborah Levy on the claustrophobia of first-person writing

    Betrayal: The Life and Lies of Bernie Madoff author Andrew Kirtzman is writing a biography of Rudy Giuliani. “Giuliani has led an operatic life,” Simon & Schuster editor Bob Bender said in a statement. “Andrew has been writing about him since his days as a City Hall reporter in the 1990s, and has an intuitive understanding of this extraordinarily polarizing figure. It’s a perfect match of author and subject.” The still-untitled book will be published in 2021.

    At Vanity Fair, Maris Kreizman explains why the big-five publishers continue to publish works by controversial right-wing authors. “

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  • Susan Choi
    November 21, 2019

    National Book Award winners announced; Random House to publish “1619 Project” book series

    The winners of this year’s National Book Awards have been announced. Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise won the fiction prize, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House won the nonfiction prize, and Laszlo Krasznahorkai and Ottile Muzlet won the translated literature prize for Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming.

    After a three-year hiatus, Trump has selected the winners of the National Medal of the Arts and the National Humanities Medal, the New York Times reports. Honorees include “the actor Jon Voight, the novelist James Patterson, the musicians of the United States Military and the conservative think tank the

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  • Sarah M. Broom. Photo: Adam Shemper
    November 20, 2019

    Hallie Rubenhold wins Baillie Gifford prize; Sarah M. Broom on writing and money

    At the Paris Review, Sarah M. Broom reflects on money, unfinished work, and how she wrote her debut memoir, The Yellow House. “I thought, at first, that I would simply follow the chain of the title to write an autobiography of a house. I had no idea of the tentacles, the ways in which the story would transfigure,” she writes. “After several halting years, stopping to earn money in order to write, I began to work less toward my vision and more toward the book that I could afford. How, I wondered, could I show up assured on the page, when I was the opposite in life?”

    The Baillie Gifford prize

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  • Julia Phillips
    November 19, 2019

    Andy Ward named publisher of Random House; Julia Phillips on what it means to be a writer

    Random House editor in chief Andy Ward will succeed the late Susan Kamil as the imprint’s executive vice president and publisher, the New York Times reports. In a memo announcing the move to staff, publisher Gina Centrello “noted that Ms. Kamil had expressed her hope that Mr. Ward might one day take over her role.” Knopf editorial director Robin Desser will replace Ward as editor in chief of Random House.

    After Swedish PEN awarded its annual Tucholsky prize to imprisoned Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai, the Chinese embassy in the country has told Sweden that it will “suffer the consequences

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  • Margo Jefferson. Photo: Michael Lionstar
    November 18, 2019

    Margo Jefferson and Darryl Pinckney at the New York Public Library

    Tonight at the New York Public Library, Darryl Pinckney will discuss Busted in New York, his new book of essays about race in America, with Pulitzer Prize–winning critic and author Margo Jefferson.

    In May, the writer Aatish Taseer wrote a story for Time magazine titled “India’s Divider in Chief,” which was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Last week, the Indian government stripped Taseer of his overseas citizenship, which means that he will never be able to return to India. Now, more than two hundred and fifty writers, including Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, are calling to restore

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  • Angie Cruz. Photo: Erika Morillo
    November 15, 2019

    Aspen Words Literary Prize longlist announced; Ahmet Atlan rearrested in Istanbul

    The Aspen Words Literary Prize longlist was released yesterday. Nominees include Angie Cruz’s Dominicana, Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay, Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive, and Bryan Washington’s Lot. The shortlist will be announced in February.

    Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan, who was released from prison last week after being imprisoned since 2016, has been rearrested “after the chief public prosecutor appealed against the decision to release” him, The Guardian reports.

    Columbia Journalism Review’s CNN public editor Emily Tamkin reflects on the network’s use of clever chyrons that

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  • Lucy Ellmann. Photo: Amy Jordison
    November 14, 2019

    Lucy Ellmann wins Goldsmiths prize; The New York Times launches new impeachment podcast

    Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport has won the Goldsmiths prize. Judging chair Erica Wagner said the novel was a “rare thing: a book which, not long after its publication, one can unhesitatingly call a masterpiece.”

    Larissa Pham has sold a book to Catapult. How to Run Away will be "about intimacy and art and distances, from the miles that we travel to get away from ourselves to the impossible chasm that can exist between two people sharing a bed."

    Elizabeth Bishop’s Key West home has been bought by the Key West Literary Seminar for $1.2 million. The group plans to use the house, where Bishop

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