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  • Recommended Reading: Charles Simic on drinking wine in New Hampshire.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • At Bookforum, Alexander Benaim reads the latest novel by Jess Row, which I wrote about as part of our most recent book preview. The novel poses a charged, intriguing question: what would happen if it were possible to change your race? (It might also be a good time to read the author’s Year in Reading entry along with our own Mark O’Connell’s review of the novel at Slate.)


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • It’s a common trope in writing courses that young artists need a dose of childlike creativity. Self-help books for people with writer’s block are filled with callbacks to childhood interests. But is it possible, as Tasha Golden argues at the Ploughshares blog, that idealizing children isn’t the answer to our problems?


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Last week, I wrote about Kathryn Schulz’s innovative interview with David Mitchell, which took place on a walk along the Irish coastline. Now, in a nice complement to our own review from today, Pico Iyer reviews the author’s latest. Sample quote: “A perfectly matter-of-fact, unvarnished evocation of how regular folks speak, married to a take-no-prisoners fascination with all that we can’t explain.” Our review of The Bone Clocks was published today.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • New this week: The Secret Place by Tana French; 10:04 by Ben Lerner; Barbarian Days by William Finnegan; Wittgenstein, Jr. by Lars Iyer; The Emerald Light in the Air by Donald Antrim; and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview. Support The Millions: Bookmark this link and start there when you shop at Amazon.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • We recently published our review of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Now comes news that yet another Murkami book will be hitting shores before the year is out. The Strange Library, already available for pre-order, is 96 pages long, will ship in December, and will include “full-color art throughout in a lavish volume designed by Chip Kidd.”


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    ~C. Max Magee
  • There are many flavors of noir, but the one that may be the most relevant to our lives today, Julia Ingalls argues, is corporate noir, which often takes the form of science fiction. At the LARB, she writes about several examples of the genre, including Alan Glynn’s Graveland and Natsuo Kirino’s Out.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “To make money, I’m planning on teaching English, or coaching recreational soccer, or something. But that’s not important because apartments are cheap, and that part, kicking around a ball, or helping Thai children have a better command of the English language, even though I don’t speak a word of Thai, will probably only be a chapter in my book. Those things will provide some nice blog-potential details, too. They’ll show the texture of my everyday life.” Travelling to the East for the sole purpose of writing a memoir.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • We’ve all heard stories about fans who root through the trash of Hollywood celebrities. But what about those rare birds who root through the trash of famous authors? Herewith, Adrienne LaFrance relates the story of Paul Moran, a Salem, MA resident who picked through John Updike’s garbage. It’s probably a good time to read our review of Adam Begley’s biography of Updike.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “We don’t yet know how to make it rain. But increasingly, we may be talking about what to do when the rain doesn’t come.” Anna North writes for The New York Times about literature in the age of drought.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Trying to get some writing done? Procrastinate with a game about trying to get some writing done without procrastinating.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Recommended Listening: “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment,” a new podcast from Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis