A British intelligence file kept secret until last week reveals that President Reagan boned up for his meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1986 nuclear-disarmament talks in Iceland by reading Tom Clancy’s novel Red Storm Rising. The president thought Clancy’s Cold War thriller, which imagines events leading up to World War III, explained the Soviet Union so well that he strongly urged Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to read it too.
Tired of home-delivery problems, editors and reporters at the Boston Globe decided to deliver thousands of copies of the paper themselves on Sunday. The paper says that it was a “small gesture to show our Globe customers that we are working hard” to fix the recent problems in delivery service.
George R. R. Martin has been working closely with the writers of HBO’s Game of Thrones series, which is based on his novels, sharing with them the plots of his forthcoming books. This year, the TV series will, for the first time, reveal plot points of Martin’s next novel, The Winds of Winter, before the novel actually comes out. “I blew the Halloween deadline, and I’ve now blown the end of the year deadline,” Martin says. “And that almost certainly means that no, The Winds of Winter will not be published before the sixth season of Game of Thrones premieres in April.”
The National Book Critics Circle has released the results for the election to fill eight open spots on its board.
According to Chartbeat, the “most engaging” digital story in 2015 was Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants,” which appeared in The Atlantic. Second place went to Wired’s “The Science of Why No One Agrees on the Color of This Dress.”
Pamela Paul answers some of the “most frequently asked questions” about the New York Times Book Review, where she is the top editor. How does one become a book reviewer? Do editors at the NYTBR ever commission reviews that they expect will be harsh? Do reviewers cover their friends’ books?
Luc Sante, the author of Low Life, discusses his new book, The Other Paris, and talks about what capitalism does to cities.
The West Hollywood house once owned by Nathanael West—author of The Day of the Locust and Miss Lonelyhearts—is for sale.