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Mar 27, 2020
Take a trip across America with these books about travel.
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Mar 27, 2020
These feel-good ebooks don't have long waits -- if any wait at all -- from your library.
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Mar 27, 2020
We're giving away a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble to one lucky reader. Enter here (and don't forget ...
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Mar 27, 2020
An awesome daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web!
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Mar 27, 2020

The bestselling author on her love of Tove Jansson, trying to read Ulysses and why we shouldn’t ‘book-shame’

The book I am currently reading
I’ve just finished Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. It’s a novel about two resourceful and sensitive young brothers in Queensland in the 1980s, trying to survive drug wars, damaged parents, neglect, violence, supernatural encounters and love.

The book that changed my life
Reading Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet as a teenager was a thrilling and soul-shaping experience. He offers a dizzying mix of encouragement, faith and challenge – making me think I wasn’t completely delusional to want to live a creative life.

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Mar 27, 2020

Partly based on the Stephen Lawrence case, this is an ambitious, darkly comic investigation into corruption and revenge

When peering through the mists of time and reflecting on his training as a novice journalist, Carl Hyatt, narrator of The Treatment, wonders “was a story ever told straight?” British author Michael Nath’s third novel offers entertaining responses to this provocation.

Set in London as the city readies itself for the 2012 Olympics, and by turns blackly comic and meditative, The Treatment is primarily Carl’s story. Carl once worked at the cheekily satirised “G******* newspaper” but lost his job after becoming embroiled in a libel case prompted by his feature about a shady property developer. Chastened, he finds a new position at the Chronicle, an unremarkable local rag which is seemingly not the best fit for his grander notions about investigative journalism.

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Mar 27, 2020

From a tent in a field to Winston Churchill’s Chartwell, a rich and eclectic collection of essays, edited by Kate Kennedy and Hermione Lee

In the 1980s, my father wrote a guide, Writers in Sussex, for which I took the photographs. During our research we visited the former homes of 40 or so writers. They included William Blake’s flint cottage in Felpham (“the sweetest spot on earth”, according to Blake); Rudyard Kipling’s imposing stone manor house, Bateman’s, at Burwash; Hilaire Belloc’s home, King’s Land, at Shipley, which was originally a tithe barn built by monks; and the cottage Mervyn Peake lived in while writing Titus Groan, within sight of the massive grey walls of Arundel Castle – an inspiration, perhaps, for Gormenghast. Peake is buried nearby, his gravestone inscribed with a moving line from one of his poems: “To live at all is miracle enough.”

Sadly some of the houses have now gone. One of those is Asheham House, near Beddingham, which Virginia and Leonard Woolf rented in 1912, before they bought Monk’s House, in nearby Rodmell, in 1919. Leonard aptly described it as “romantic, gentle, melancholy, lovely”. When we visited in the autumn, the trees around this remote and austerely beautiful house, with its elegant Gothic windows, were bare and echoing with the raucous calls of rooks. Locals had told Virginia that Asheham was haunted and it became the subject of her story “The Haunted House”.

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Mar 27, 2020
A running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak with regular updates from around the world, including Ivan Sršen in Zagreb, Sue Halpern in Ripton, Michael S. Roth in Middletown, Ben Mauk in Penang, Martin Filler in Southampton, Eula Biss in Evanston, Richard Ford in East Boothbay, George Weld in Brooklyn, Nilanjana Roy in New Delhi, Ursula Lindsey in Amman, Zoë Schlanger in Brooklyn, Dominique Eddé in Beirut, Lucy McKeon in Brooklyn, Yiyun Li in Princeton, Caitlin L. Chandler in Berlin, Nick Laird in Kerhonkson, Alma Guillermoprieto in Bogotá, Lucy Jakub in Northampton, Rachael Bedard in Brooklyn, Hari Kunzru in Brooklyn, Minae Mizumura in Tokyo, Jenny Uglow in Keswick, Sylvia Poggioli in Rome, and more.
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Mar 27, 2020
Aside from world war, nothing has the capacity to touch every citizen on the globe like a pandemic. History has much to teach us about facing the spread of an invisible enemy. Why were warnings ignored? How are ecology and public health intertwined? Who stands to lose when a cure is inevitably found and the developed world moves on? We’ve grappled with these questions in the Review before, through early accounts of the plague, histories of mosquitoes and rats, Philip Roth’s fictional account of polio season, and more.
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Mar 26, 2020
Being a single parent is like being a parent except you’re always alone. Being a single parent in quarantine is like being a parent except the inside of your mind has become an insane asylum echoing with the sound of your own voice reading the same picture books over and over again. My daughter and I haven’t left the apartment in four days, ever since I became symptomatic. When I wake with my heart pounding in the middle of the night, my sheets are soaked with sweat that must be full of virus. The virus is my new partner, our third companion in the apartment, wetly draped across my body in the night.
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Mar 26, 2020

As the world goes into lockdown, reading groups are moving to Zoom, Twitter and Instagram to bring readers together

• Scroll down for a list of book clubs you can join

My book club was the first to concede defeat. Before my gym, hair salon and therapist accepted that there could be no more business as usual as the coronavirus took hold in the UK, the host of my book club got in touch to say that our March meet-up was off.

The news came as no great surprise. Despite best-laid plans to meet every six weeks, our activity had always been sporadic -our last meeting was in December. We had not even settled on our next book yet, such was our preemptive commitment to self-isolation. As our host said, the book club had already been in quarantine for months.

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Mar 26, 2020

The hardest edge of football’s soft power – a daring insider’s guide to the violent but complex world of ultra fans

Ultras are notoriously difficult to define. They are the most hardcore and extremist of football fans, but while many groups have become criminal gangs, morphing into semi-secretive, paramilitary organisations that accumulate great power and wealth, others are idealistic crusaders against injustice and tyranny. Plenty of ultras are neo-fascist, but there are many far-left groups, too. The ultra mentality is all about the local – your street, suburb or city – but it’s also a globalised subculture in which fans thousands of miles apart influence each others’ songs, protests, politics and philosophies.

James Montague has spent many years with them (his subtitle – “among the ultras” – seems a conscious nod to Bill Buford’s acclaimed if flawed book on British hooligans, Among the Thugs). The “1312” of the title refers to the alphabet code for ACAB, an ubiquitous acronym which stands for “all cops are bastards”. It’s that which unites the movement: there is, Montague writes, a “mistrust in any type of authority”. There’s a bloody-minded contrariness to the ultras. It is typified by the word dišpet used by its members from Hadjuk Split: “a term of defiance that roughly means to oppose something no matter the consequences … Dišpet means to be anti-everything.”

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Mar 26, 2020
A running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak with regular updates from around the world, including Richard ford in East Boothbay, George Weld in Brooklyn, Nilanjana Roy in New Delhi, Ursula Lindsey in Amman, Zoë Schlanger in Brooklyn, Dominique Eddé in Beirut, Lucy McKeon in Brooklyn, Yiyun Li in Princeton, Caitlin L. Chandler in Berlin, Nick Laird in Kerhonkson, Alma Guillermoprieto in Bogotá, Lucy Jakub in Northampton, Rachael Bedard in Brooklyn, Hari Kunzru in Brooklyn, Minae Mizumura in Tokyo, Jenny Uglow in Keswick, Sylvia Poggioli in Rome, and more.
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Mar 26, 2020
Last week, Goldman Sachs predicted jobless claims could easily hit 2.25 million this week—seen by some as scaremongering but, it turned out, too optimistic. On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced jobless claims of nearly 3.3 million, up from 281,000 the week before. The highest number of new claims in a week previously was 695,000 in 1982. Based on data already seen, it is plausible GDP numbers will drop more than 10 percent in the second quarter of 2020 across many OECD countries, where nearly 1.3 billion people live. Over the last decade or so, the social safety net has been gutted—and now we are paying the price: we have vulnerable communities that simply do not have the resources to withstand such a nasty economic or health shock. This virus changes everything.
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Mar 26, 2020

During difficult times it is always important to try and retain a sense of humour and Beth O'Leary's wonderfully escapist novels, The Flatshare and The Switch, provide plenty of belly-laughs alongside many heartwarming romantic moments. Below, Beth selects her favourite literary comedies bursting with love and optimism.  

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Mar 25, 2020

With children across the country spending nearly all their time indoors, it is more important than ever to have plenty of great reads to distract them. Below is our selection of the very best book bounty that April has to offer from pre-schoolers to young adults.

Please Note: Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, publication dates are liable to change at short notice. All publication dates were correct at the time this blog went live.

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Mar 25, 2020

A Waterstones Book of the Year nominee and now the Waterstones Book of the Month for April, Max Porter's Lanny is a lyrical masterpiece from one of the country's very finest prose stylists. In this exclusive essay, Max examines literature's unique place in the cultural ecosystem and highlights some other authors and works which share his incredible visionary tone. 

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Mar 25, 2020

Andrew Taylor is one of the most accomplished writers of historical crime fiction working today. His Marwood and Lovett novels have garnered both remarkable sales and great critical acclaim, and the fourth installment, The Last Protector, is published this month. In this exclusive essay, Taylor discusses the Bawdy House Riots, which play a pivotal role in the compelling plot.    

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Mar 25, 2020

Anna Ahmatova, David Malouf, Yukio Mishima and more explore the emotion that tears us apart but leads us into compassion, writes Christos Tsiolkas

I was an adolescent when I first came across the letters of St Paul. Though I had been raised Greek Orthodox, at 13 I had joined an evangelical church in the hope that God would banish my shame. The shame of being different. The shame of hurting my immigrant parents’ honour. The shame of being gay. At that age, all I could hear from Paul was his admonishment in his first letter to the Corinthians that my homosexuality would banish me for ever from God’s love and grace. I battled with that for over two years before finally abandoning my faith. It was a relief to declare myself atheist, and a relief to begin the slow, difficult process of extricating myself from shame.

In my late 20s, however, I experienced another form of shame. I had betrayed a man I loved. I had betrayed my ideals. In a state of misery I found myself walking into a small Uniting Church. My body fell to weeping and prayer – for aid from a God in whom I no longer believed. On the pew in front of me there was a copy of the New Testament and I began to read it. I read Paul’s letter to the Romans and this time I heard the voice of a man struggling with doubt and confusion, shame and regret. And I heard his words of solace and compassion. My novel Damascus is my attempt to reconcile these two versions of Paul. It is the story of a man, not a saint, since it is the living, breathing, conflicted man who interests me. This is the man we can still hear 2,000 years later through the letters he left us.

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Mar 25, 2020

This slim portrayal of an abusive gay relationship in the 1970s is the biggest small book of the year

Adam Mars-Jones’s fiction is nothing if not intermittent. His early stories in Lantern Lecture (1981), including one where the Queen contracts rabies, won him a place on the first, influential Granta Best of Young British Novelists list in 1983. His stories focusing on Aids, collected in Monopolies of Loss (1992), put him on the second list in 1993. Clearly embarrassed at having been twice named one of Britain’s best young novelists without a novel, he wrote his brilliant debut The Waters of Thirst in a couple of months and released it the same year.

It was 15 years before his next work of fiction arrived. Pilcrow (2008) was the fat first part of a projected four-volume mega-novel about the life of a disabled gay man; the second volume, Cedilla, came in 2011. These are the great achievements of his fiction to date, though of the third volume there is no sign. (Being an Adam Mars-Jones completist is not a full-time occupation, though it is a rewarding one.) Now we have Box Hill, the slenderest of creatures, and the biggest small book of the year.

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Mar 25, 2020
A running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak with regular updates from around the world, including Lucy McKeon in Brooklyn, Yiyun Li in Princeton, Caitlin L. Chandler in Berlin, Nick Laird in Kerhonkson, Alma Guillermoprieto in Bogotá, Lucy Jakub in Northampton, Rachael Bedard in Brooklyn, Hari Kunzru in Brooklyn, Minae Mizumura in Tokyo, Jenny Uglow in Keswick, Sylvia Poggioli in Rome, and more.
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Mar 25, 2020
When the plague arrived at Catalonia’s doorstep in April 1348, the learned physician Jacme d’Agramont wrote to address the “doubts and fears” rising around him. He laid out, in a treatise written in Catalan to the civil authorities in his hometown of Lleida, a set of reasonable preventative measures that anyone could take. The air was likely putrefied because of sin, so confession should be the first priority. Sex and baths must be avoided, because they open one’s pores and allow noxious airs to enter. A fearful imagination would only make matters worse.
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Mar 24, 2020

From Ian McKellen reading Homer to Bill Bryson on the body, these audiobooks can expand your horizons, even when you can’t go out

For those staying at home during the pandemic, the entertainment options might soon run low. There are only so many podcasts released each week, and streaming TV shows and films for 18 hours straight is no more practical than reading books all day, if one has to be moving around cooking, exercising, or preventing small children from maiming themselves with unexpected household objects. So perhaps the long-form audiobook deserves a top slot in the menu of, I’m sorry, quarantainment.

This might be a good chance to catch up on classics from previous centuries. An unavoidable monument here – and already a recent bestseller on Scribd, which has just announced that all its books and audiobooks will be available free for 30 days — is The Plague by Albert Camus. This is the tale of a small French-Algerian town cut off from the outside world after an outbreak of bubonic plague, which its citizens at first refuse to believe is a serious threat. The central character, a doctor, remarks that his fellow townspeople in this respect “were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.”

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Mar 24, 2020
Helen Lederer and Angela Barnes nominate books they consider to be a good read.
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Mar 24, 2020
A running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak with regular updates from around the world, including Lucy Jakub in Northampton, Rachael Bedard in Brooklyn, Hari Kunzru in Brooklyn, Minae Mizumura in Tokyo, Jenny Uglow in Keswick, Sylvia Poggioli in Rome, and more.
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