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  • Recommended Reading: Deborah Friedell on Ian McEwan’s The Children Act.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • How many writers actually know how a word processor functions? Chances are the answer is: not many. At Page-Turner, our own Mark O’Connell examines this odd state of affairs, which he became more cognizant of after reading Vikram Chandra’s new book, Geek Sublime.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • A couple weeks ago, Brian Ted Jones reviewed The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, which “takes place on the margins of a grand, cosmic struggle.” Not long afterwards, at The Rumpus, Woody Brown offered a somewhat negative take on the book, arguing that Mitchell makes it too difficult for the reader to suspend her disbelief. You could also read Brown’s Millions review of Haruki Murakami’s new novel.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • I’ve written before about By Heart, a series at The Atlantic in which authors write short pieces about their favorite passages in literature. This week, our own Edan Lepucki — whose new novel you may have heard about thanks to Stephen Colbertwrites about the metaphors in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. (FYI, Margaret Atwood wrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Leslie Jamison and Francine Prose discuss the ways reading can affect your life for the worse, with potential results ranging from murder to being bad at sports.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • A first edition of Don Quixote, fragments of Sappho, and a lock of Percy Shelley‘s hair all in one place: Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Boston has announced the country’s first “Literary Culture District,” marked by memorials to Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath. It also includes some arguably less interesting sites – the buildings that used to house The Atlantic Monthly and Little, Brown and Company, for example. Caroline O’Donovan writes critically about the new district for The Baffler and concludes that “we’ve allowed glib cultural ideals to occlude economic realities, and tourism tax dollars to triumph over a candid conversation about the origins of art and the sustainability of its production.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • The Lives of Others by Neel Mukhergee, which was just shortlisted for the 2014 Booker Prize, will be released in the US at the beginning of October. If you just can’t wait another two weeks, an excerpt is now available online. For more about the 2014 Booker Prize, read our coverage of the longlist announcements here.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Why do we spend so much time with stories whose endings we already know?” Derek Thompson writes about nostalgia and culture for The Atlantic, and his piece pairs well with Katy Waldman‘s Slate essay about “thinking that you’re not getting as much from reading as you used to.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Nearly everyone has an opinion about MFA programs, and Flavorwire has 27 pulled from writers and teachers, including our own Edan Lepucki whose full piece on “The MFA Debate” can be found here.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • The editors at Poetry have compiled a reading list from their contributors’ suggestions, and the result is a healthy mix of poetry books new and old. Pair their suggestions with Tom Nissley‘s “September Books: A Reading List for Beginnings.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • This week in book-related internet graphics: Penguin has created an interactive map of literary genres, complete with some very creatively shaped “countries”. As Electric Literature points out, “the fact that the map is aimed at current self-publishing authors explains why YA is it’s own continent while genres like Gothic fiction don’t exist.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis