All Blogs / Academics / Literature / Popular


Healthy reading ?

At The New York Times' Well Nicholas Bakalar reports on a study appearing in the September issue of Social Science & Medicine [abstract/summary], suggesting that reading 'books' "is tied to a longer life". I'm naturally suspicious...Show More Summary

Multiple Choice review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alejandro Zambra's Multiple Choice, just out in the US (though it'll be a few more months before the UK edition appears). Gimmicky ? Sure -- but in just the way I like it. Good...Show More Summary

Interviews on The Surrender

Over the past couple weeks, two interviews with me on The Surrender have been published. The first is with my good friend Emma Ramadan, translator of Sphinx by Anne Garréta, among many other things, and soon-to-be bookstore co-proprietor (in Prividence, RI). Here’s the interview. I could dress as I wished in private, and I could Continue Reading

Swedish women crime novelists

At the Los Angeles Review of Books Rosemary Erickson Johnsen considers Hej, Men Nej, to "The Girl" and "Girls' Books": Three Swedish Women Crime Novelists -- Liza Marklund, Camilla Läckberg, and Helene Tursten. A helpful overview, especially...Show More Summary

Me Against the World review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Shiraishi Kazufumi's Me Against the World, due out shortly from Dalkey Archive Press (and with an Afterword by Kawakami Hiromi).

The Improbable Life and Prescient Poetry of Basil Bunting

If Basil Bunting were not remembered for “Briggflatts”—his longest and best poem, first published fifty years ago—he might still be remembered as the protagonist of a preposterously eventful twentieth-century life. By the age of fifty,...Show More Summary

'Scotland's Favourite Book'

At the BBC they are looking to determine 'Scotland's Favourite Book', and they've opened voting among the top thirty novels they've preliminarily narrowed it down to. Though I've read more of these, only three titles are under review at the complete review : Knots and Crosses, by Ian Rankin Laidlaw, by William McIlvanney Morvern Callar, by Alan Warner

French literary prize calendar

There's still some time to go -- the first longlist is due 6 September -- but for those who want to be well-prepared, Livres Hebdo has a handy (if not quite complete) calendar of the long- and short-list dates for the major French literary...Show More Summary

Gesell Dome review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Guillermo Saccomanno's Gesell Dome, just (about) out from Open Letter Books.

Reality Affects

Bonnie Nadzam's recent essay at Literary Hub, "What Should Fiction Do?", is well worth reading, despite the title. (The only accurate answer to the question in the title [which may not be Nadzam's] is: "Lots of stuff, including whatShow More Summary

Pictures in the Sky: Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop 2016

It’s Sunday morning in Gambier and the Resident Advisors are sipping coffee, standing in front of a blank, concrete wall, a bucket of sidewalk chalk at our feet. Brady writes welcome! in blue, block letters the size of hubcaps. Further down, Meera draws a… Continue reading ?

Why We Chose It

“Auctioneering Selfhood,” Simon Chandler’s review of The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, appears in the Summer 2016 edition of KROnline. In my first year as a Book Review Editor at the Kenyon Review, I’ve had the chance to… Continue reading ?

Fazil Iskander (1929-2016)

The great Russian-writing Abkhaz author Fazil Iskander has passed away -- or, as NDTV put it (in 2016...) Soviet Humanist Writer Fazil Iskander Dead At 87. (Perhaps we should just say the great Caucasian writer ? Okay, maybe: the great...Show More Summary

Jonathan Franzen Q & A

At Slate Isaac Chotiner has 'An exclusive conversation with the novelist' as he talks with Jonathan Franzen on Fame, Fascism, and Why He Won't Write a Book About Race. Franzen admits: "I am not being hounded by my publisher to promote...Show More Summary

We Are Entering a Prolonged Period of Slow Growth

The 20th-century was a once-in-a-species-lifetime aberration and the 21st century will be one of prolonged slow growth. That is essentially what gets said in William D. Nordhaus’s NYRB review of The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon. In this, it echoes many Continue Reading

Anagrams by Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore has long been known to me as one of the “name” authors of American fiction, one of a very select group of fiction writers who could probably live off her writing alone, a fixture of major anthologies, the likes of The New Yorker, and major American awards. So, in other words, everything that Continue Reading

Links & Reviews

- Rebecca Romney posts about her time at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) last week.- John Nulty, formerly employed by the National Library of Ireland, received a suspended sentence for the theft of rare books worth nearly €200,000 over the course of nine years. Show More Summary

Neglected/overlooked Indian literature

In The Hindu they: "surveyed some of India's respected writers and editors on underrated and neglected books and authors since independence", in Keshava Guha's Expanding the canon -- asking then which post-independence books/authorsShow More Summary

P.O.Enquist profile

Per Olov Enquist has long been a local favorite, and it's nice to see him get a profile in The Guardian, by Andrew Brown. His The Parable Book is just out in the UK -- get your copy at Amazon.co.uk, or see the MacLehose publicity page -- but apparently doesn't have a US publisher; see also the Norstedts Agency information page.

End-of-days fiction (not) in China

Via I'm pointed to Isaac Stone Fish's article in Foreign Policy, arguing: 'Why apocalyptic fiction and film haven't caught on in the Middle Kingdom', The End of Days Is Coming -- Just Not to China. An interesting overview and explanation.

Copyright © 2015 Regator, LLC