by Alissa Nutting
Raccoon’s has beer-bucket specials starting at 9:30 am. I mean, on a Tuesday morning. This singular fact would qualify it as my favorite bar all on its own.0
by Michael Bourne
The voice at the center of Bright Lights may be spoiled and petulant, but it also is unmistakably American: fatally romantic, distrustful of authority, and democratic to a fault, even as it sounds its barbaric yawp over the rooftop parties of the world.5
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Mark O'Connell looks at Tommy Wiseau’s "The Room". the "Face-Palm Fresco Affair" and explores the secrets of viral fame.Buy for $1.99
“In addition, irrelevant and misleading personal anecdote. However, oversimplification of first Googled author (citation: p. 37). Thesis statement which doesn’t follow whatsoever from the previous.” A generic college paper.
Last Friday was T.S. Eliot’s birthday, and to mark the occasion, Sadie Stein looked back on his 1965 Times obituary. As it turns out, it uses a phrase — now obscure — that was popularized by Nancy Mitford in the anthology Noblesse Oblige.
Starting this year, Kirkus Reviews will award the impressive sum of $50,000 each to three winners of their new Kirkus Prize, which recognizes works of fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. This morning, they announced their first-ever batch of finalists, a long list including a few names who should be familiar to Millions readers: Elizabeth Kolbert (for The Sixth Extinction, which we published an essay about); Year in Reading alum Sarah Waters (for The Paying Guests); Thomas Piketty (for Capital in the 21st Century); New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (for her memoir); and Siri Hustvedt (for The Blazing World, which we reviewed). Their judges will announce the winners on October 23rd.
Last week, I pointed to former Millions-er Emily M. Keeler’s review of Wolf in White Van, the new novel by John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Now, at Slate, Carl Wilson offers his own praise of the book, which he describes as “not the kind of rallying cry or dark comfort that Mountain Goats fans are used to, but a complex meditation.”
Girls creator Lena Dunham’s first book is on shelves, as is the new short story collection by Man Booker laureate and recent Millions interviewee Hilary Mantel. Also out: On Immunity by Eula Biss; A Sudden Light by Garth Stein; Consumed by the filmmaker David Cronenberg; The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan; and The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis. For more on these and other titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview. Support The Millions: Bookmark this link and start there when you shop at Amazon.
RIP Karl Miller, one of the founders of The London Review of Books and an editor of the magazine for thirteen years. Originally meant to fill a vacuum left by a strike at the Times Literary Supplement, the LRB grew into “the liveliest, the most serious and also the most radical literary magazine we have,” in Alan Bennett’s words.
It’s a question that puzzles writers of all stripes: why is so much academic writing so terrible? It’s an issue that’s been a lifelong head-scratcher for the linguist Steven Pinker, who set out to answer the question once and for all. His verdict? It has to do with the meaning of “literary style.”
In general, we think of translators as people whose job, briefly summarized, is to create elegant texts out of works in foreign languages. But J.R.R. Tolkien, in his translation of Beowulf, set out to do something different. The Lord of the Rings author published a translation that he kept intentionally clunky. Why? In his telling, he did it to better imitate Old English.
Christopher Beha just finished reading the complete works of Henry James and writes for The New Yorker about the experience while also touching on both “The Great Y.A.” and “The Great Goldfinch” debates.
Recommended reading: Monica McFawn writes for Brevity “On Riding and Writing Boldly.”
The LA Times has a review up of Eula Biss‘s On Immunity: An Innoculation, an “elegant, intelligent and very beautiful book, which occupies a space between research and reflection.” We covered the collection in our Second-Half 2014 Book Preview, and Biss’s first book, Notes from No Man’s Land, has appeared in several Millions pieces over the last few years.
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Read More The Millions Top 10 August 2014
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Haruki Murakami
Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
The Round House Louise Erdrich
The Son Philipp Meyer
Cosmicomics Italo Calvino
Reading Like a Writer Francine Prose
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
My Struggle: Book 1 Karl Ove Knausgaard