Books

LeVar Burton to Publish His First Children’s Book This Fall

This fall, everyone’s favorite bookish TV personality and children’s literacy advocate will take a break from reading other people’s… Read More

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Jo Piazza’s Subversive ‘If Nuns Ruled the World’ Shatters the ‘Sister Act’ Stereotype

One of the best parts of Orange Is the New Black Season 2 was the backstory the show gave to Sister Jane Ingalls — her struggles with her faith and her activism as embodied in her life outside the prison, from her ghostwritten book, Nun Shall Pass, to the protest that got her arrested in the first place, in which she chained herself to a flagpole at a nuclear testing facility. After spending most of Season 1 as a saintly nun, she got layers, and we saw what brought her to the faith. It was a moving story about an imperfect woman trying to do good in the world, with all the self-interest and pure action that entails. … Read More

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10 New Must-Reads for September

It’s officially September, which means: back to school, the promise of sweater weather, and tons of great new books coming to a bookstore near you. A good thing too, because there’s something about this month that inspires voracious consumption of literature, particularly for those of us who no longer have assigned reading lists. Click through for a selection of books, featuring big names like David Mitchell and Lena Dunham along with a few promising debut novelists and young poets, that you won’t want to miss this… Read More

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‘Worn Stories’ Is a Charming Book About Clothes and Meaning

It’s interesting — one thing that the internet has been good for is a sort of “single-serving” hit of an emotion, or a feeling, capturing a funny little moment in time. That style flourishes on Tumblr, for better or worse, with sites like Humans of New York and Last Night’s ReadingWorn Stories, the handsome new book adapted from artist, writer, and editor Emily Spivack’s reliably smart blog of the same name, does come from that single-serving blog style, where a garment is photographed on a stark white background and a story about its origin and meaning sits beside it, but it’s the very simplicity of the concept that makes it sing. … Read More

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Another New Murakami Novel is Coming Out This Year

Are you Murakami’d out yet? Well don’t put away those weird ears or talking cats yet — Knopf announced… Read More

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Beyond the Screen: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Writings as the Key to His Art

“Un oiseau chante d’autant mieux qu’il chante dans son arbre généalogique.” Or, “A bird sings best in its genealogical tree.” This reflection from Jean Cocteau introduces us to The Holy Mountain and El Topo director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mythic memoir, Where the Bird Sings Best.

During his recovery from an opium addiction, under the influence of French philosopher Jacques Maritain, Cocteau made a fleeting return to the Catholic Church. “Art for art’s sake, art for the masses, it’s all equally absurd. I propose art for God,” Cocteau declared. Allies of a parallel “divine” counterculture and kindred poet-magicians, Cocteau wrote the introduction for Jodorowsky’s directorial debut — 1957’s La cravate, a mime adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella The Transposed Heads, starring the filmmaker. … Read More

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10 of the Worst Jobs in Literature

Gainfully employed denizens of the modern world: happy Labor Day. While you’re celebrating the American labor movement by taking a day off of whatever job you complain about most of the time, why not indulge in a little literature — particularly literature that reminds you just how good you have it when you are in the office? After the jump, you’ll find ten of the absolute worst jobs ever committed to fiction. Check them out, and go back to work tomorrow with a happy heart. … Read More

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Why Book Criticism and Literary Culture Needs a Poptimist Revolution

When bestselling author Jennifer Weiner was profiled by The New Yorker in January 2014 in an article called “Written Off,” writer Rebecca Mead made sure to outline Weiner’s two audiences: one, the loyal readers of her books, who propel them onto the best-seller list, and number two, a pricklier sort, consisting of the “writers, editors, and critics… who have given Weiner a parallel notoriety, as an unlikely feminist enforcer.” The short version is that, through Twitter (and her following, which currently numbers about 93K), Weiner used her platform to needle such august institutions as The New York Times Book Review and everyplace else with mediocre VIDA counts regarding the amounts of space they give to reviewing and considering the three books that “matter” for the season written by male authors like Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, while simultaneously ignoring the span of women’s writing, and, additionally, commercial fiction. … Read More

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Should the Word ‘Slut’ Be in a Children’s Book in 2014?

Recently, the Australian supermarket chain Aldi removed Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes from its shelves in response to, as an Aldi spokeswoman put it, “comments by a limited number of concerned customers regarding the language used in this particular book.” According to The Guardian, the book was removed after at least one person commented on Aldi’s Facebook page about the book, saying it had “an unacceptable word in it for kids!!! Not ok!” Since apparently stores are now paying attention to what people say on their Facebook pages (it is the future, everyone), Aldi is now facing protest from people on both sides of the aisle. … Read More

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