Today is the final, championship round of the Morning News Tournament of Books. Novelist Celeste Ng let Paul Beatty’s The Sellout through yesterday over its competitor, President Obama’s favorite, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff: “Both books have the same effect of shaking the ground under the reader’s feet,” Ng noted. “The Sellout does it through satire: When everyone’s a target, no one has the moral high ground. Fates and Furies uses plot twists.” So Beatty’s book will now be duking it out against Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House.
This week, VIDA released the results of its annual byline count for 2015, which it christened “the year of intersectional thinking.” The news seems a little less grim than in years past, prompting Sarah Seltzer at Flavorwire to suggest that “unlike movie studios and even publishing houses, the staffs at literary and political magazines are leaner and can respond to critique more quickly and nimbly.”
It’s hard to summarize this account by a freelance writer of his experience profiling a fashion designer for Elle in any way that does it justice. The editor he worked with there is “a power hungry flake”; Vanity Fair is “a giant bore,” as are “the bores at New York magazine”; David Remnick “is nice but he’s no William Shawn, as his past reporting on Russia can attest,” and the New Yorker’s previous piece on the designer “was academic, bizarrely self-absorbed and often wrong. Very Reader’s Digest meets GQ, like what the entire New Yorker unfortunately became.” A minor comic masterpiece.
The Los Angeles Times has appointed ten writers as critics-at-large for its books pages, including Laila Lalami, Alexander Chee, and the recent Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James.
Jezebel founder Anna Holmes is joining First Look Media in a senior editorial position involving stories and visual images, though no one seems able to describe exactly what she’ll be responsible for, except to say that it will have to do with “making cool shit.”
Tomorrow night in Brooklyn, The New Inquiry will be celebrating its fiftieth issue with a party.