• October 2, 2015

    In the wake of another mass shooting, this time at a college campus in Oregon, there has been disagreement over how journalists should proceed in reporting such events immediately after the fact, especially when using social media. In responding to the events in Oregon, the president made a statement that Vox calls “as angry as Obama publicly gets”: “We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. . . . So we know there are ways to prevent it. And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue.  Well, this is something we should politicize.”

    As of November 1, Chris Cox, who has worked at Harper’s since 2010, will take over from Ellen Rosenbush as its editor.

    In the New Republic, Cathy Park Hong offers a corrective to the recent focus on Kenneth Goldsmith, writing that “the poetry world has been riven by a crisis where the old guard—epitomized by Goldsmith—has collapsed.” She writes about the new American poetry, “a movement galvanized by the activism of Black Lives Matter, spearheaded by writers of color who are at home in social media activism and print magazines; some poets are redefining the avant-garde while others are fueling a raw politics into the personal lyric. Their aesthetic may be divergent, but they share a common belief that as poets, they must engage in social practice.”

    The winner of this year’s Nobel Prize is likely to be announced soon. Cue the annual Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth speculations (“I wonder,” Roth winningly remarked last year, “if I had called ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ ‘The Orgasm Under Rapacious Capitalism,’ if I would thereby have earned the favor of the Swedish Academy”). Other current bookies’ favorites apparently include Svetlana Alexievich, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and Haruki Murakami.

    Jonathan Bate’s new book on Ted Hughes, which was to have been an “authorized” biography before access was withdrawn, nonetheless looks to offer new insight into both Hughes and Plath.

    For the Guardian, Michelle Dean interviews Eileen Myles.

  • October 1, 2015

    You can read Andrew Roberts’s review of Niall Ferguson’s authorized Henry Kissinger biography in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. But you might want to prepare first by reading this review of the review by Greg Grandin, author of a more critical Kissinger biography. He points out that the Times’s usual rules on conflicts of interest ought to preclude assigning this one to Roberts, an old friend of both the book’s author and its subject (Kissinger, in fact, originally asked Roberts to write the biography himself): “The Times might as well have asked Kissinger to review his own biography. Or, better, Ferguson himself.”

    Valeria Luiselli

    Valeria Luiselli

    Ta-Nehisi Coates and Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk, are among the finalists for this year’s $50,000 Kirkus prize for nonfiction. Nominees for the fiction prize include Valeria Luiselli, Hanya Yanagihara, and the late Lucia Berlin.

    Yet another alt-weekly, the Philadelphia City Paper, will close next week.

    Newspapers may be suffering, but their old staple the crossword puzzle seems to be thriving. The Wall Street Journal started a daily puzzle recently, and now BuzzFeed is launching one too: The Observer has an interview with its twenty-two-year-old puzzles editor.  

    Emily Books is publishing a collection of work by the writer and poet Jenny Zhang, because, as Ruth Curry puts it, “You get the feeling that she loves being gross. She puts the grossness in service of something powerful.”

    Tonight at the Columbus Avenue branch of Book Culture, there will be a live recording of the Books & Authors podcast: Cary Barbor will be interviewing Eileen Myles about her new collection, I Must Be Living Twice.  

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