This week I found a “manic pixie dream girl” in a 1928 French novel, tried to get in the head of Walter Berglund, and learned that William Styron called Dorothy Parker “my little crumpet.” Full reviews here.
Three days, fourteen authors. That’s the rough itinerary for this weekend in Miami, where it’s 70 degrees and sunny and I have a suitcase full of books. Takeaway host John Hockenberry and I flew into town for the Miami Book Fair International yesterday; we leave tomorrow. Yesterday, John spoke with New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik about what makes a family dinner table come alive; tomorrow, he’ll be talking to graphic novelist Derf Backderf on what it was like to be high school classmates with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. All of those conversations — as well as two “big-think” author discussions on love and death — will be airing the week after next (about the time when it dawns on me once again just how cold New York winters really are).
Superstorm Sandy edition. Some excellent books for a mess of a week. Full reviews at The Daily Beast/Newsweek.
Let me tell you about this week’s Daily Beast/Newsweek Hot Reads. The Greatcoat was a fine way to spend a rainy afternoon. Several Ways to Die in Mexico City stumbled into my lap and changed the way I think about what I eat and drink. The Middlesteins is the book I happily read in one sitting. Try the Morgue is the book I haven’t been able to stop talking about. A Free Man is the book I wish I’d written that I think everyone should read.
The weather is crisp and the reads are hot. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore put a smile on my face, All Gone made me thank my lucky stars, Familiar tripped me out, The News From Spain tugged at my heart and Do the Movies Have a Future? got me thinking about just how strange and tenuous cultural criticism can be in the first place. Check out this week’s reviews for The Daily Beast. Bonus feature: I recommended A Free Man for Newsweek’s round-up of essential new books on India.
Reviews, reviews, reviews! This week’s round-up includes some real masters of fiction — Junot Diaz, Shani Boianjiu and the Basque writer Bernard Atxaga — and some inquisitive, big-hearted non-fiction craftsmen too. The reviews are up on the Newsweek/Daily Beast site.
Get them while they’re hot! I reviewed new books from Paul Auster, Bernhard Schlink, and Jonathan Tropper this week, as well as a wonderful debut novel from Rebecca Harrington and an unconventional memoir about Mormonism by Jane Barnes for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
My review of The Planets by Sergio Chejfec is up with the latest issue of Words Without Borders:
“A sense of loyalty to his memory leads me to write,” the narrator of Sergio Chejfec’s novel The Planets confesses, thinking back on the life of his dearest friend. Of the duo, M was the story-teller, the writer-to-be, the absent-minded-professor (“always distracted to the point of appearing indifferent”) with a parable in every pocket, viewing the world askance. M was larger-than-life—until he was gone.
This week’s edition of Hot Reads for The Daily Beast/Newsweek included some real gems, like In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner, The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair, Dare Me by Megan Abbott and A Pimp’s Notes by Giorgio Faletti. There’s a sweet new landing page for Hot Reads too.
I reviewed five hot new releases out July 2nd for The Daily Beast/Newsweek: Parsifal by Jim Krusoe, Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews, The Red Chamber by Pauline Chen, The Long Walk by Brian Castner and Octopus by Guy Lawson.