• Janice Mirikitani, 1977. Photo: Nancy Wong.
    August 17, 2021

    Remembering poet Janice Mirikitani; Brandon Taylor on IKEA realism

    Poet Janice Mirikitani, a former Poet Laureate of San Francisco and cofounder of the social-service nonprofit Glide, has died at the age of eighty. When she was a child, Mirikitani spent time in a US internment camp for people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The author of multiple poetry collection, Mirikitani also edited anthologies, and coauthored a nonfiction book about her work with Glide. San Francisco mayor London Breed remembered Mirikitani as “one of our city’s true lights. . . . She was a visionary, a revolutionary artist and the very embodiment of San Francisco’s compassionate

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  • Leslie Jamison. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan
    August 16, 2021

    Leslie Jamison sells two new books to Little, Brown; Christian Lorentzen on the latest Intellectual Situation from “n+1”

    Early in his governorship, Andrew Cuomo invited Robert Caro, biographer of Lyndon B. Johnson and author of The Power Broker, to the state capitol to talk about Robert Moses. As it turned out, Cuomo did most of the talking, sharing his admiration of Moses and regaling the author with his plans to “build big,” Shane Goldmacher writes in the New York Times. The governor then declared the meeting over. “It was an arrogant and angering thing to do,” Mr. Caro recalled in an interview. “To think I had given a day of my life to have him lecture me.”

    Michael M. Thomas—who wrote thrillers about the

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  • Kate Aronoff. Photo: Bold Type Books
    August 13, 2021

    Kate Aronoff on the IPCC report and the full picture of global warming; “New York” Magazine union has released a pay study

    For this week’s Jewish Currents newsletter, David Klion talks with New Republic climate writer Kate Aronoff about the new IPCC report, and how major news outlets’ despairing coverage of its contents—while understandable—misses the “full picture” and can contribute to dangerous messaging. Aronoff outlines specific inaccuracies in such coverage and elaborates: “The reality, according to the IPCC, is that every 10th of a degree [of global warming] translates to tens of thousands of lives lost, so every little incremental step we can take to mitigate climate change matters a tremendous amount.

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  • Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi. Photo: Kayla Holdread.
    August 12, 2021

    Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi on her new book; Dolly Parton is writing her debut novel with James Patterson

    Dolly Parton has announced that she’s writing a novel with James Patterson. Parton’s fiction debut is titled Run Rose Run and will have a companion album based on the characters and plot of the book.

    The New York Times is releasing a series of subscriber-only newsletters by authors including Tressie McMillan Cottom, John McWhorter, Kara Swisher, and more. According to Axios, at least eighteen Times newsletters will be for subscribers only beginning next week.

    At Guernica, an interview with the former United States poet laureate, Rita Dove. The author’s new poetry collection Playlist for the

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  • Percival Everett, 2011
    August 11, 2021

    Percival Everett on rereading novels; “n+1” editors on the problem of the contemporary American book review

    Online at Booth, the publication run by students and faculty of the Butler University MFA program, Brian Rocha interviews Percival Everett, the author, most recently, of the novel Telephone. They discuss Everett’s respect for place in fiction, returning to works of art to find them changed, and the publishing industry’s obsession with marketing. “The problem really is that the publishing industry is now purely marketing. It was at one point literary,” Everett says. “To me this is about art, not about racial equity in publishing. If it were all about art, a lot of those things would take care

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  • Vauhini Vara
    August 10, 2021

    Vauhini Vara on AI and grief; Saïd Sayrafiezadeh in conversation with David Adjmi tomorrow night

    For The Believer, Vauhini Vara has an essay about how AI technology—specifically a model called GPT-3—helped her grieve the death of her sister: “I found myself irresistibly attracted to GPT-3—to the way it offered, without judgment, to deliver words to a writer who has found herself at a loss for them. One night, when my husband was asleep, I asked for its help in telling a true story.”

    At the New York Times, William J. Broad writes about Charles H. Loeb, a Black journalist who covered the atomic bomb strike on Hiroshima. Loeb’s investigations led him to conclude that radiation from the blast

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  • Adrian Tomine. Illustration by Adrian Tomine
    August 09, 2021

    Adrian Tomine’s graphic memoir to become an animated TV series

    Adrian Tomine’s graphic memoir The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist is being adapted into an animated television series. Tomine, who is also known for his comic Optic Nerve and his graphic story collection Killing & Dying, will write the screenplay.

    The Dipp is keeping tabs on what books are serving as props on the new HBO series White Lotus: Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, and more . . .

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  • Mario Levrero. Photo: © Eduardo Abel Gimenez
    August 06, 2021

    Mario Levrero’s self-interview; revisiting Ursula K. Le Guin’s blog

    “How do you tell a story about a relationship that remains, at heart, stable and that has no endpoint toward which to go?” For Lapham’s Quarterly, B. D. McClay considers the friendship plot: “In both children’s literature and in stories for adults, friendship repeatedly emerges as something oppressively close, exclusive of others, jealous of growth; friendship stories are about rifts and endings, drawing a final curtain over the lost past.”

    The Believer has published an English translation of an interview with the late Uruguayan bookseller, author, and cartoonist Mario Levrero, in which Levrero

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  • Danzy Senna. Photo: © Anne Fishbein
    August 05, 2021

    Danzy Senna on “anti-racist self-help”; Patricia Lockwood on a love story between a librarian and a bear

    For The Atlantic, Danzy Senna writes about Courtney E. Martin’s memoir Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America From My Daughter’s School and Robin DiAngelo’s Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm, taking the two books as emblematic of a new genre, what she terms “anti-racist self-help.” Senna notices that both books are intent on demonstrating the goodness and effortful striving of their authors: “The word brave gets used a lot in Martin’s book, and the idea of bravery gets performed a lot in DiAngelo’s book, as she time and again steps in as savior

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  • Nell Zink. Photo: Francesca Torricelli
    August 04, 2021

    Nell Zink has sold a new novel to Knopf; the National Book Foundation announces its Science + Literature initiative

    Nell Zink, the author, most recently, of Doxology, has sold a new novel to Knopf. Avalon is “a Cinderella story framed as a confession, complete with a dusty money laundering operation, outlaw bikers, and a handsome prince with cerebral machinations.”

    In The Nation, Marie Solis reviews Kikuko Tsumura’s novel There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job and the ways in which fiction depicts our working lives. Comparing the book to recent stories about work by Halle Butler, Hilary Leichter, and Ottessa Moshfegh, Solis notes Tsumura’s approach: “This is what jobs are about, good or bad, Tsumura seems to

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  • August 03, 2021

    Join us tonight for “No Wrong Answers” with Anuk Arudpragasam and Megha Majumdar

    Join Bookforum tonight at 7pm EDT for the first episode of our new video series, No Wrong Answers. Anuk Arudpragasam will talk about his Booker Prize–longlisted novel A Passage North with Megha Majumdar, whose own novel, A Burning, was a New York Times notable novel and was longlisted for the National Book Award. The event is free and will be streamed via Zoom. You can RSVP here.

    PEN America has posted videos from its 2021 World Voices Festival. The twenty-five videos include panels and conversations about literature with writers including George Saunders, Matthew Salesses, and Rivka Galchen

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  • Tracy O’Neill
    August 02, 2021

    Tracy O’Neill reads tonight in Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Drawing on Carole Angier’s forthcoming biography, The Guardian’s Donna Ferguson speculates on what inspired Sebald to write novels “saturated with despair,” the lasting trauma of the holocaust, and suicide. Novels such as The Rings of Saturn and Austerlitz, Angier suggests, became Sebald’s means of grappling with his authoritarian father, a German soldier who fought in World War II. The realization that his father fought in Hitler’s army, and that his parents had benefited from the Nazis, caused Sebald long periods of depression, even breakdowns. Angier suggests that one particular breakdown

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