Flipping through A Scene Between, Sam Knee’s tribute to the style of 1980s British indie acts such as The Pastels, Orange Juice, and, of course, The Smiths, I had to admit to myself that even though hardly a day goes by when I don’t find myself listening to music from that time and place, it was a later band that took most of its influences from that era, Belle and Sebastian, who first got me searching thrift stores for paisley button-up shirts and anoraks to which I could fasten Jesus and Mary Chain badges. But soon enough, I came to realize that my true sartorial heroes had mostly broken up long before I was old enough to appreciate their greatness. … Read More
James McBride has won the National Book Award for Fiction for the book The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead Books/Penguin Group USA).
George Packer has won the 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction for the book The Unwinding: An Inner History of the… Read More
Mary Szybist has won the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry for the collection Incarnadine: Poems (Graywolf Press).
Cynthia Kadohata has won the 2013 The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for the book The Thing About Luck (Atheneum… Read More
Five years ago this month saw the publication of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 in English. The book topped almost every year-end list and signaled a shift in literary tastes, creating larger audiences for works in translation, historical storylines, and narrative complexity. Between the uncertain future of the publishing industry, the rise of indie presses, new literary magazines, and the Internet and ereaders, the years that followed were bittersweet for the book industry but also a unique and fruitful time for readers. The following 50 books provide several clues as to why that is, and also give a glimpse into the future of… Read More
Spoiler alert: this post discusses plot points of all three Hunger Games novels.
People don’t usually describe The Hunger Games as romance books, but they are. Though the focus on war and dystopia and violence occlude the view, at the center is the drama of Katniss and her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark. At the outset, Katniss is in love with someone else; by the end of the trilogy she’s realized that he is the only person she can be with. Peeta has the elements of the standard romance-novel fantasy-hero: he is handsome, and he is (largely) steadfast. But most importantly for Katniss, he’s the only person who knows what she’s gone through. That’s really why she retreats with him from the turning world into a fortress of domesticity in their ruined former district. … Read More
I’d like to imagine there will always be people who find it necessary to fit the experiences of a vacation into the small space provided on a postcard, but I’m doubtful. The idea of buying, filling out, and dropping one into a mailbox has become a quaint relic of our pre-Instagram past. … Read More
On this day in 1956, while visiting the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Ernest Hemingway was alerted by the staff that he’d had two trunks stored there since the 1920s, and if he didn’t claim them, they’d be tossed in the trash. Hemingway was surprised when he claimed the luggage and found lost manuscripts and notes, some of which would eventually make up A Moveable Feast, one of the most famous literary memoirs ever. … Read More