Curiosities Archives - The Millions

December 9, 2016

On Optimism and Despair 2

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“In your earlier novels you sounded so optimistic, but now your books are tinged with despair. Is this fair to say?” Zadie Smith‘s remarks upon accepting the 2016 Welt Literature Prize on November 10th, and the question of whether “multiculturalism” is a failed experiment. Read our review of Smith’s latest novel, Swing Time, here.

December 9, 2016

Why Words Matter 0

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“The hijacking of public language, as is happening now, is a way to shift perception—to bend and control thought—and must be resisted.” Summer Brennan pens a powerful first entry for her twice-monthly column about language and power at The Literary Hub. Read also our own Lydia Kiesling, who tells us, “I have to believe that literature can be a […]

December 8, 2016

Biblio-klepto-mania 1

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“Symptoms included a frenzy for culling and hunting down first editions, rare copies, books of certain sizes or printed on specific paper.” Lauren Young writes in Atlas Obscura about the phenomenon of bibliomania, “a dark pseudo-psychological illness” that afflicted upper-class victims in Europe and England during the 1800s. And for a first-hand account of more contemporary book theft, read John […]

December 8, 2016

No Bastion for Books 0

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“She gathered books to display for attendees and discovered that inside the cover of one, ‘The Koran for Dummies,’ someone had written “lies cover to cover,” drawn a swastika and made a disparaging remark about the Prophet Muhammad.” The president of the American Library Association reports “startling increases” in 2016 of vandalism, including hateful messages, at […]

December 7, 2016

Around the World with Books 0

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Bibliophiles will rejoice at The New York Times‘s current travel section, which is entirely book-dedicated. The staff lead with “Temples for the Literary Pilgrim,” which profiles jaw-dropping bookstores, cafés, and restaurants around the world; Ann Patchett provides a U.S. based bookstore pilgrimage; seven writers, including Geraldine Brooks and Ta-Nehisi Coates, reflect on their personal favorites; and Jennifer Moses writes […]

December 6, 2016

In Dylan News 1

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Time for an update on the Bob Dylan-Nobel Prize beat: While Dylan still won’t attend the award ceremony in Stockholm this weekend, he has submitted a speech to be read on his behalf, reports The New York Times. Patti Smith will also be on hand to perform one of Dylan’s songs. We bet Brian Burlage would say that suits […]

December 6, 2016

Book Picker Book Picker Pick Me A Book 0

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It’s time for NPR‘s Book Concierge again! The interactive site will help you sort the year’s releases by about a gazillion criteria, including “book club ideas” and the seriously great “seriously great writing.”

December 6, 2016

Tuesday New Release Day: King; Savill; Handke; Morris; Grass; Hustvedt 1

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Out this week: Everything Love Is by Claire King; They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savill; The Moravian Night by Peter Handke; All Joe Knight by Kevin Morris; Of All That Ends by Günter Grass; and A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.

December 5, 2016

Invisible Together 0

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“It was a remarkable scene, to witness young people collectively shatter one another’s sense of social isolation.” Clint Smith for The New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog about teaching Invisible Man to a high school class full of undocumented immigrants.

December 2, 2016

Harper Lee Land 0

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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 […]