December 11, 2018

R.O. Kwon. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti

The National Book Critics Circle has announced the finalists for this year’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book. Nominees include Nana Kwami Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black, Jamel Brinkely’s A Lucky Man, Francisco Cantú’s The Line Becomes a River, Tommy Orange’s There There, Tara Westover’s Educated, R.O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries, and Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry. The winner will be selected in January.

John le Carré is working on a new novel, the New York Times reports. Agent Running in the Field will be published by Viking next October. Little is known about the new book’s plot, but the Times asserts that “it does sound sure to include the political turmoil and interpersonal twists and turns that have been le Carré’s trademarks.

Tracy Morgan is working on a cookbook based on his TBS sitcom, The Last O.G. “This project is really special to me,” Morgan said. “I want this book to not only inspire mad culinary skills, but give back to the Brooklyn community where I grew up.” A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Fortune Society, a non-profit that supports people returning to their communities after incarceration.

“Political poetry [does] much more than vent,” writes poet laureate Tracy K. Smith at the Times. “It has become a means of owning up to the complexity of our problems, of accepting the likelihood that even we the righteous might be implicated by or complicit in some facet of the very wrongs we decry.”

At the New Yorker, Osita Nwanevu examines the misplaced mourning for the “old WASP aristocracy.”

Teju Cole and Rowan Ricardo Phillips discuss tennis, talent, and Phillips’s new book, The Circuit. “Tennis is the perfect sport for late capitalism,” Phillips said. “I think people think that they’re escaping politics when they embrace Roger Federer. But they’re totally rooting for capitalism, right? There’s such a commodified way to be a Roger Federer fan. . . . It comes with all the accessories, and they’re expensive.”