Will Self

The Man Booker Prize 2012 Longlist Announced

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Attention book lovers on all sides of the pond! The Man Booker 2012 longlist, as selected by Dan Stevens (aka Matthew Crawley, swoon), Dinah Birch, Amanda Foreman, Bharat Tandon, and chair Sir Peter Stothard, has just been announced. There are some pretty obvious picks (we would have been shocked if Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies didn’t make the longlist), some pleasant surprises (Jeet Thayil’s awesome debut novel Narcopolis!) and enough books that haven’t made it over to the states yet that we have a lot to explore before the shortlist is announced in September.

What do you think, dear readers? Will we hear more of the same accusations of dumbing-down that we heard last year? Are you so excited by the panel’s choices that you’re going to go out and buy the whole list or do you think you’ll skip this round? Let us know who you’re rooting for in the comments, and keep an eye on the Booker Prize website for more updates.
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The 10 Best Book Covers of 2011

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We’ve talked about book cover designs — both new and old — quite a lot this year, and it’s no surprise. Being completely obsessed with pop culture as we are, we’re more than a little bit fascinated by covers, since they manage to combine two of our favorite things: literature and design. We’ve been tracking our favorite covers all year, but to get an expert opinion on the topic, we asked illustrator and graphic designer Andrew Henderson, who runs one of our favorite Tumblrs, Lovely Book Covers (tagline: yes, you should judge a book by its cover), to curate this list of the best book covers of 2011. Since he’s based in Scotland, several of Henderson’s choices are from UK or other foreign editions, which we think makes the list all the more interesting. Click through to see his picks for the most evocative, beautiful, and well-designed book covers of the year, and let us know if you agree with his assessments in the comments!
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Desks of the Rich and Famous: Workspaces of Highly Creative People

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Ever wondered how your favorite artist gets their work done? No, we mean, exactly how. As in, if we use the same pen Hemingway used, and the same kind of paper, and at the same time of day, maybe we’ll… nevermind. Regardless of pen type, there is something fascinating about the artist’s desk, and like anything else, everyone will draw their own far-reaching conclusions. In particular, it seems like everyone has their own opinion about what the state of someone’s workspace “means,” and we guess it has more to do with what the adage-makers own desks looked like than anything else. Whether a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind, or whether a cluttered desk just means a cluttered desk, or whether a messy desk is a sign of genius, we don’t know. But be their desks cluttered or clean, these creative people are definitely on this side of brilliant. Indulge in some harmless voyeurism and sneak a peek at the desks and workspaces of writers, artists, and thinkers. Then, it’s time to redecorate.
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