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  • John Darnielle, who you may know through his work with The Mountain Goats, released a new novel last week, titled Wolf in White Van. Over at The Hairpin, our onetime #LitBeat editor Emily M. Keeler reviews the book, which she calls “a novel that unspools rather than reads.” Pair with: Jesse Jarnow on the 33 ⅓ book series, which includes a volume written by Darnielle.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Recommended Reading: Lindsay Whalen’s interview with Lev Grossman, which goes nicely with our review of The Magicians.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Following last year’s Pulitzer Prize, which Donna Tartt won for her first novel in eleven years, it means something when a critic draws a favorable comparison between The Goldfinch and a new book. For Laura Miller, though, it’s a natural reaction to the latest from Sarah Waters, which seems poised to “scratch the same big-novel itch” as Tartt’s novel did last year. (FYI, Sarah Waters wrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Two weeks ago, Tod Goldberg came out with a new novel, Gangsterland, that centers on a hit man in the Chicago Mafia. At The Nervous Breakdown, you can read an excerpt of the novel, as well as one of their trademark self-interviews, in which Goldberg explains that for the past three years, he’s been “writing and writing and writing. But sometimes, that just means I’m not writing at all.” You could also read the author’s dispatch from AWP.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “Today’s vampires have traded their capes for fashionable leather jackets, their claws for manicures.” Becca Rothfeld writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books about the “the distressingly human lives of vampires today.” Pair with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Ethical Vampires” and “Ethical Vampires, part II.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Before he was Michael Chabon the novelist he was Michael Chabon the punk musician. Now recordings of his work with The Bats are available online as part of Mind Cure Records archival series.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Did Virginia Woolf learn a bit of her modernism from Edith Wharton? John Colapinto argues so in The New Yorker, pointing out that the famous middle section of To the Lighthouse seems to mirror the innovative end of The Age of Innocence.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “What’s emerging from these studies isn’t just a theory of language or of metaphor. It’s a nascent theory of consciousness.” Michael Chorost writes about the importance of metaphors in literature and the brain.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Robinson resists the notion of love as an easy antidote to a lifetime of suffering or solitude, suggesting that intimacy can’t intrude on loneliness without some measure of pain.” Leslie Jamison reviews Marilynne Robinson‘s latest novel, Lila, which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “It’s fair to say Shakespeare is having a cultural moment in Asia, with a “boom” of new film adaptations and dramatic stagings,” and the Royal Shakespeare Company just received 1.5 million pounds to keep that boom going by translating all of the Bard’s plays into Mandarin. Melville House has the full story, and it pairs well with both this diagram of a translated book’s usual lifespan and this discussion of Shakespeare’s best plays.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “I am not influenced by books. Instead, I am shaped by them. I am made of flesh and bone and blood. I am also made of books. ” Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, which we reviewed here, and Bad Feminist, takes a new, thoughtful spin on a Facebook trend in an essay for BuzzFeed.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis