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  • “The idea that a ‘book of the year’ can be assessed annually by a bunch of people – judges who have to read almost a book a day – is absurd, as is the idea that this is any way of honouring a writer.” Amit Chaudhuri in The Guardian about why the Man Booker Prize “is bad for writers.” And in these pages, Mark O’Connell asks why we care about literary awards at all.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don’t, hate persists.” The always amazing Southern Policy Law Center has put together “Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide.”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “She could be a diva, says this source, ‘but in a way I fucking admire it. The world would be a sorrier place without divas.’” For New York magazine, Boris Kachka on the drama behind Michiko Kakutani‘s departure from The New York Times and what her absence means for the world of books. Consider also: our own Matt Seidel‘s rogue’s gallery of prominent critics.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: Home Fire by Kamila ShamsieThe Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett KobekHow to Behave in a Crowd by Camille BordasThe World Broke in Two by Bill GoldsteinA Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson SextonThings That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini; and The Mountain by Paul Yoon. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • The 2017 Hugo Award winners were announced in Helsinki, reports io9. For the second year in a row N.K. Jemisin came away with the best novel prize for her latest, The Obelisk Gate, and Ursula K. Le Guin (whom we interviewed a few years back) took “best related work” for her collection Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Many of the basic rules around typographic contrast and readability for print or 2D screens change in VR. When type becomes even a little bit more volumetric, the way people perceive it and interact with it changes. The type needs to be rooted in something real, otherwise it gets a little uncanny for the user.” What should typography look like in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality interfaces? The Drum considers (via The Digital Reader). Wonder what a book fetishist might thing of all this…


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Every one of these books is a herd of animals.” The Atlantic reports that a group of archaeologists and geneticists in the UK have used mere crumbs of parchment to study the DNA of several thousand-year-old illuminated manuscripts, the pages of which were made of cow and sheep skins.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “You don’t have to immediately quit your job to become a writer. You need only to start writing.” The New York Times transcribes an excerpt from the “Dear Sugars” podcast with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. For more writerly advice, see our own columnists Swarm & Spark on whether writing a novel will jeopardize your mental health.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “He combed through the sahaflar, the second-hand bookshops that line the streets around the Grand Bazaar, their dusty wares stacked on haphazard tables. He sat by the New Mosque, drinking tea out of tulip-shaped cups, playing backgammon, and watching the fishermen’s wooden boats launch into the dirty waters of the Golden Horn.” For Public BooksSuzy Hansen writes about James Baldwin‘s less-well-documented time in Istanbul. Pair with this piece from our pages about the famed author, race, and fatherhood.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • How do readers recover from an abominable weekend but with a reading list, in this case one suggested on Twitter by Jay Varner, a writer and instructor based in Charlottesville. Varner links out to 12 articles about “why so many continue to believe an unequivocally false historical narrative surrounding the Confederacy,” including pieces by New Orleans’ mayor Mitch LandrieuSlate‘s Jamelle Bouie, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose Between the World and Me made our roundup from last year of the best political fiction (yes, we do realize it’s decidedly not fiction).


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “When a female politician’s worst crime is to be unlikeable and uncompassionate, how much ration­ality and coldness is acceptable for women intel­lectuals and artists? Just how tough is tough enough?”


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “If we have no internal lives, then artists are free to make them for us, or to use us as tools for providing depth and motivation to the non-autistic characters, the real ones.” Sarah Kurchak writes for Electric Literature on the abysmal state of autistic representation in books, film, and television, namechecking both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Visit From the Goon Squad, which we considered here and here, respectively.


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    ~Kirstin Butler

Read More The Millions Top 10 July 2017