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  • “The so-called ‘alt-right’ is white nationalism repackaged as retro-chic, and its discourse constantly invokes nostalgia for a golden age in the Confederate South when racism when reigned supreme. The leaders of this project will need to be very careful that they don’t end up just creating a Disneyland for racists.” A coalition of local businesses in Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee‘s hometown, plan to open a major tourist attraction built around the late author’s home and fabrications of fictional locations featured in To Kill A Mockingbird. Critics are dubious, reports The Guardian. Perhaps, in lieu of a trip, you’ll accept this essay by Robert Rea about his literary pilgrimage to Lee-land?


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “There’s still time to look something else up.” Merriam-Webster pleads with word lovers to prevent “fascism” from becoming its word of the yearThe Guardian reports. See also: this Lithub piece about the social media genius behind M-W‘s Twitter feed.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “At a time when heated conversations about diversity and cultural appropriation in literature abound, The Loved Ones is a wondrous gift, a pleasant reminder that there are many thoughtful writers who can create believable characters of multiple races, ethnicities, and genders without relying on caricature or stereotypes.” We’re all warm inside from Necessary Fiction‘s lovely review of Millions staff writer Sonya Chung‘s novel, which we featured in our second-half 2016 book preview.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “When they’re not at their day jobs, a great many of the island’s 330,000 inhabitants dabble in verse.” The New York Times attempts to understand why Iceland is chock-a-block with poets. A few years back we reviewed one of its better known practitioners (and Björk lyricist) Sjón.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • In random-but-awesome news, Geoff Manaugh‘s BLDGBLOG reports on a new project by Dutch earth scientists to piece together what they’re calling an “atlas of the underworld.” Using CT scans to visualize “invisible landscape features—the ghostly remains of entire continents—hidden inside the planet,” the project will reveal a surface within earth’s surface. See also: our review of Where You Are, an anthology of sixteen alternative maps by a range of artists and writers including Geoff Dyer, Valeria Luiselli, and Leanne Shapton.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.” The Associated Press addresses the term “alt-right.”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “I very quickly realized that if you want to seem as a serious writer, you can’t possibly look like a person who looks in the mirror.” Author, Boots spokesperson, Year-in-Reading alum, and all-around badass Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks to The New York Times about beauty, feminism, and writing.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: Normal by Warren EllisThe Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Storiesand The Best American Magazine Writing 2016. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “Our culture has focused so much attention on the most visible members of the Black Panthers that it has been easy to forget it was a nationwide organization — an entity that needed to attract ordinary people who believed in something and were also willing to work for it.” In the TimesRembert Browne reviews two new books about the Black Power movement.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • If you’re wondering why you should read this new essay on Jack London, consider this sentence: “Born in 1876, the year of Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand, the prolific writer would die in the year John T. Thompson invented the submachine gun.” In Smithsonian MagazineKenneth Brandt explores the brief life of the author.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Recommended Reading: Joanna Biggs on Zadie Smith and Swing Timewhich we reviewed.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • Colson Whitehead has some advice: write the book that “scares you shitless.” In a recent, wide-ranging interview with John Freeman, the Underground Railroad author talks about why he wrote his latest novel, along with his methods for sussing out good ideas. You could also read our review of The Underground Railroad. 


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    ~Thomas Beckwith

Read More The Millions Top 10 October 2016