Books

The Best Novels of 2014

Let me open contentiously: I’m bored by the 2014 year-end lists in literature, especially from big print newspapers. The reason? There is a measure of comfort in books coverage that breaks faith with the lively, exploratory spirit of contemporary literature. And 2014 has been an exemplary year in this regard, especially for poetry and the novel. The books on this list assert that there are no hard breaks — punctuations — in life that easily demarcate how we develop; nor do they decline belief that humans mature through language. And language is key. So, too, is fiction. These novels suggest that what is real is somehow tied to life and living, and living is itself composed in large part of… Read More

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6 Things You Didn’t Know About Emily Dickinson’s Writing Process

When Emily Dickinson (born on this day in 1830) wrote her thousands of famous poems, she largely intentionally eschewed publication. That means there’s a treasure trove of fascinating information to be gleaned from both her manuscripts and the interpretations and publication of her poem in the ensuing years.

And then there are those dashes. Dickinson’s frequent use of the dash has been interpreted on dozens of symbolic and practical levels. They were musical notes! Pause indicators! Signifiers of female negativity punctuating the male space of the page! … Read More

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Melville House Will Publish the CIA Torture Report

The “Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation” report will receive a print release on December 30th, 2014,… Read More

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Scott Saul’s ‘Becoming Richard Pryor’ Has a Complicated Relationship With Bill Cosby

There’s an anecdote in Scot Saul’s new Becoming Richard Pyror, where the heretofore straightlaced comedian punctured the solemn, celebrity-fund-raiser mood of a Hollywood Bowl event for 10,000 people after Martin Luther King’s assassination with just a sentence. “All these people here are giving money,” Pryor said, “but if your son gets killed by a cop, money don’t mean shit.” … Read More

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Watch the Charming, Very French Trailer for ‘The Little Prince’

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella The Little Prince is perhaps one of the best-known children’s books of all time. The… Read More

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25 Great Books You Might Have Missed in 2014

The end of the year is approaching and you’re looking for a little extra present: a stocking stuffer? A Secret Santa gift? Or perhaps you just want to read off the beaten track? Regardless of your reason for book-consumption, here is a roundup some of our personal favorites, some titles that you might not find on the big end-of-year lists but which we think you should absolutely check out anyway — whether they’re from indie presses, or they cover taboo topics, or they’re a cookbook in a novel-saturated… Read More

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Random House to Alter Future Versions of Lena Dunham’s Book Over Rape Allegations

An Oberlin College alumnus has threatened litigation against Random House, the publisher of Lena Dunham’s Not that Kind of Girl. In the… Read More

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YouTube Megastar Zoella’s Record-Breaking Debut Novel Was Ghostwritten, But Fans Don’t Care

In the beginning, there was YouTube. Then, a little later, there was Zoë Sugg, a young woman with a dream. When those two things merged, they formed Zoella, vlogger extraordinaire, lover of all things “Beauty, Fashion, & Life.” Next came fame and fortune and millions of YouTube subscribers and Twitter followers. Finally, last month, Zoella’s new novel arrived. It is titled Girl Online, and now it’s the fastest-selling debut novel of all time.

But! Last weekend, Sugg’s publisher, Penguin Random House, admitted that the novel was “factually” not written by Sugg. “To be factually accurate you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own,” they said. Then, on Twitter, Sugg, admitted that the novel was ghostwritten by committee. And not just a little bit ghostwritten. The entire thing, as it turns out, was ghostwritten, except for the ideas for the characters and the story. Here is Sugg’s “confession”: … Read More

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Uber, Ebola, and Other Evils: Links You Need To See

Welcome back to the real world, weekenders. Remember Ebola? There was a panic here in the States because a handful of people, mostly medical professionals, in major American cities had gotten it–Dallas, Manhattan. There are no known cases of Ebola in the US at present. But there are in West Africa. As of December 4, there were more than 17,000 reported cases of Ebola, spread across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and will likely blast through the CDC’s prediction of petering out at 20,000. But no one’s really talking about it anymore. Let’s talk about it. … Read More

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