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Priyanka Chopra Got Through a Concussion With the Help of Amy Schumer’s Soothing Audiobook Voice

Sounds like Audible.com has a new customer base they should explore: the recently concussed. Quantico star Priyanka Chopra was briefly hospitalized last week, after slipping during an on-set stunt and striking her head on a car bumper. Having suffered a concussion, the actress was required to take three days off work and limit herself to an extremely restricted range of activities. Luckily, the curative medicine of Amy Schumer's speaking voice was there to heal her. "I was taken to the ER, and they did a CAT scan and they said it was a concussion, so I had to take three days off work,” Chopra recounted to Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday at the People's Choice Awards. "I just sat on my couch and literally just listened to audiobooks. I was, like, listening to Amy Schumer talk to me through the weekend. I was listening to her book because I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t read a book, so I just had Amy Schumer in my ears the whole weekend.” Coming soon: Get your medical-grade audiobooks wherever they are sold.

  • Posted 1/18/17 at 11:47 AM

What Happened to Paul Auster? A Decade Ago, He Was a Nobel Candidate.

What if you were made to account for the books on your shelves, the way souls have to account for their sins? I’m not talking about some bogus social signaling when a date is brought home or people are over for dinner. How do you reckon with your younger, naïve self, the person you were before your tastes matured? You were better looking then, but those books you were reading, turn their spines away from the light. Better yet, put them on the curb. In my case I sold them all in 2010 — anything that didn’t have sentimental value as an object or couldn’t be easily replaced. That was how I first said good-bye to Paul Auster.

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Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith Are Among the Finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards

The finalists have been announced for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Awards. In the nonfiction category, last year’s National Book Award winner, Ibram X. Kendi, is recognized alongside Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, and the fiction section is filled out with literary stars like Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, and Ann Patchett, though Colson Whitehead, who won the National Book Award for The Underground Railroad, was notably absent from the list. Margaret Atwood will also be honored at the upcoming ceremony with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Finalists are selected by a 24-person board within the organizing body, which is comprised of 1,000 literary critics and book review editors, and the winners will be announced on March 16.

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  • Posted 1/16/17 at 3:26 PM

Enjoy the Last of Barack Obama’s Literary Wisdom

Like us, President Obama has been considering the power of the novel under his presidency lately. And, as he told the New York Times, he's not worried. The president — who counts Marilynne Robinson as a pen pal and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad as his most recent read — said that he isn't concerned about the survival of fiction because we're a "storytelling species." In classic star-seminar-student-who-actually-did-the-reading mode, Obama drew parallels between what's on his bookshelf and his day job: "Working that very analytical side of the brain all the time [as president] sometimes meant you lost track of not just the poetry of fiction, but also the depth of fiction," he said. "Fiction was useful as a reminder of the truths under the surface of what we argue about every day and was a way of seeing and hearing the voices, the multitudes of this country."

Obama also revealed the coming-of-age literature primers he shared with Malia. There's not a lot of Kerouac-style musings on the list, he explained, saying that he's never tapped into the "open-road, young kid on the make discovering stuff." He described his early reading and writing habits as focusing more on an inner, melancholy life. "I loved reading when I was a kid, partly because I was traveling so much, and there were times where I’d be displaced, I’d be the outsider," the president recalled. "The idea of having these worlds that were portable, that were yours, that you could enter into, was appealing to me." His picks for Malia: The Naked and the Dead, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Golden Notebook, and, The Woman Warrior. Like everyone, Obama admits that he's not as plugged into young writers as he should be, but he promises to whittle down his list once he leaves the White House.

John Lewis’s Books Sell Out on Amazon Following Donald Trump’s Attacks

John Lewis is a National Book Award winner with an acclaimed graphic-novel trilogy and a memoir to his name, but no accolade on this Earth will boost book sales quite like getting publicly brandished by our esteemed president-elect. Amazon has sold out of both March, the congressman's graphic novel about the civil-rights movement, and Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. The two works by the civil-rights leader currently claim the No. 1 and 2 spots on Amazon's best-sellers list, respectively, according to the Washington Post.

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AMC Is Adapting Another John le Carré Spy Novel for Your Viewing Pleasure

Hot off The Night Manager's raging success at this year's Golden Globes Hugh Laurie! Olivia Colman! Tom Hiddleston's, uh, speech! AMC and the BBC will be teaming up to once again bring a John le Carré novel to the small screen. This time around, the two networks will collaborate on a limited-series adaptation of le Carré's 1963 outing The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, which is set at the height of the Cold War and follows a vengeful British agent sent to East Germany to gather information on a powerful counterintelligence officer. Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy will write the entire series, while le Carré himself is "very excited" for the adaptation. Espionage, can't get enough of it.

160 Children’s-Books Creators Sign Petition Objecting to Milo Yiannopoulos’s Simon & Schuster Book Deal

Backlash against Milo Yiannopoulos's Simon & Schuster book deal is now coming from Simon & Schuster's own roster of authors and artists. The outrage concerns the infamous alt-right troll's acquisition of a $250,000 advance from Simon & Schuster's Threshold imprint for his work Dangerous. The book deal has already caught a lot of flak from those disgusted by his frequent harassment, including target Leslie Jones. Now, a letter and petition signed by 160 children's-books creators, most of whom are on Simon & Schuster's docket, condemns and protests the publication. In the letter, the book creators express their dismay that "Threshold has placed Simon & Schuster's considerable reputation and weight behind one of the most prominent faces of the newly repackaged white supremacist/white nationalist movement." The letter continues, "As Simon & Schuster authors and illustrators who are already published, with books in the release pipeline, with contracts in place, we do not have to quietly accept or assent to this 'Gleichschaltung,' this getting in line with fascism and making it mainstream." Signatories on the message include authors such as Cassandra Clare, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson, and Arun Gandhi. The letter, which can be read in full on Publishers Weekly, ends with a plea for Simon & Schuster and CEO and president Carolyn Reidy to "take an irrefutable stand against hate." Yiannopoulos's Dangerous is set to hit stores March 14.

Considering the Novel in the Age of Obama

For seven decades, we’ve been studying American novels by talking about “postmodern” and “postwar,” the latter a category that has outlasted its usefulness, at least since the death of Norman Mailer. But in making finer distinctions about books, why wouldn’t presidencies serve as well as decades? You can match the heroes of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, and Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road with JFK; and you can trace Reaganite excess through Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City and Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero to its derangement during Bush I in American Psycho to the recovery narratives and Clintonian delirium in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

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George R.R. Martin Tells a Fan Winds of Winter Is Coming in 2017, But Knows He’s Said That Before

Game of Thrones fans have been on the edge of their dragon saddles for a long time now waiting for Winds of Winter, the sixth book in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. The TV show has already lapped the books, but HBO’s favorite fantasy author answered a fan comment on his blog today suggesting the long-awaited next installment of his epic fantasy saga could be on the way this year. Ice and Fire fan J Snow very politely reminded Martin that it’s been a long time since he updated fans on the release timeline, and asked for even the tiniest indicator of when Winds might finally hit bookstores, “Even if its as simple as, 'not done yet, but ive made progress (or not)', or 'it'll be out this year (or not)'. Anything (or not).” Martin replied:

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  • Posted 1/10/17 at 12:11 PM
  • Fantasy

Marlon James Announces His Dark Star Trilogy, Which Aims to Be an ‘African Game of Thrones

The man who brought the world the Booker Prize–winning A Brief History of Seven Killings is going hard into fantasy. In 2015, Marlon James said that he planned to “geek the fuck out” on a series that would serve as an “African Game of Thrones.” Now, it seems that James's work has started to come to fruition. James's The Dark Star Trilogy, published by Penguin Random House's Riverhead Books, will play out across three installments: Black Leopard, Red Wolf; Moon Witch, Night Devil; and then The Boy and the Dark Star. The official description reads:

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John Hodgman to Embrace His Nonfiction Side and Release New Book, Vacationland

John Hodgman — actor, humorist, author, all around great guy — has announced that he will be releasing his first nonfiction book, titled Vacationland, which will be an "expansion" of Hodgman's comedy tour that goes by the same name. As the fourth (and the first strictly non-satirical) book from Hodgman, Vacationland will collect an assortment of his humorous autobiographical essays about the highs and lows of aging, fatherhood, and travel. "For once I am not lying. Vacationland will be a book. The AP describes it as a spiritual journey to New England and middle age," Hodgman wrote on his Tumblr, also saying that it has an expected October release date. "They did not accept my language John Hodgman Tells Absolutely, Maybe Awfully True Stories As He Sprints Toward Death in Emotionally and Literally Cold Places." Honestly, that sounds great to us.

8 Books You Need to Read This January

Each month, Boris Kachka offers nonfiction and fiction book recommendations. You should read as many of them as possible.

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25 of the Most Exciting Book Releases for 2017

This week we're looking to the year ahead by tracking down the most anticipated pieces of pop culture in 2017. Below, 25 books we can't wait to get our hands on. 

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  • Posted 12/27/16 at 4:49 PM
  • Obits

Watership Down Author Richard Adams Dead at 96

Richard Adams, a decades-spanning English novelist best known for writing the seminal children's adventure novel Watership Down, has died at the age of 96. His daughter confirmed the news to numerous British publications, saying that her father had been "ailing for some time" but "died peacefully" on Saturday evening. Besides the international recognition he received for penning the rabbit-centric Watership Down in 1972 — which, interestingly, stemmed from a tale he would tell his two children during long car rides — Adams was the author of numerous other works, which ranged in genre from child-friendly fantasy (Shardik, The Ship's Cat) to adult-oriented historical fiction (Traveller) to follow-up short stories (Tales From Watership Down). Adams was in his early 50s when he penned Watership Down, and prior to that served in the Royal Army Service Corps as a brigade liaison during World War II; he slowly rose in the rankings of the British civil service, which culminated with a job writing government reports in the Department of the Environment. Additionally, he had a short stint as head of the animal welfare charity RSPCA. Adams is survived by his wife, Barbara Acland, and his two daughters, Juliet and Rosamond.

Amber Tamblyn is Writing Her First Novel, and We Will Be Blessed by It in 2018

If you enjoy the literary works of Amber Tamblyn, you're in luck: Harper Perennial announced today that it will be publishing a new collection of prose and poetry by the actress/entertainer/thought leader in addition to her debut novel in winter 2018. Tamblyn’s first fiction work will center on “an amorphous serial rapist” and promises to break ground “on how we contemplate rape culture.” We would expect nothing less ambitious from Tamblyn, who shared a personal experience with sexual assault earlier this year after the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump condoning sexual assault was leaked around the time of the presidential debates.

The 10 Best Art Books of 2016

Writing about visual art, perhaps more than any other cultural category, tends toward the incomprehensible and, well, artless. Too often it’s either jargon-laden and academic or deadeningly explanatory. But there are of course noteworthy exceptions to this norm, and we rounded up ten of the best. Here are our favorite art books — a term that encompasses books about art, books by artists, and books of art — from 2016.

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Every Single Literary Reference on Younger

Television struggles with how to represent the publishing industry onscreen. Need we remind you of the great Gilmore Girls debacle of 2016? But one series that seems to be getting it right is the charming TV Land show Younger, starring Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff as editors at a respected publishing house. Yes, Younger — which aired its season-three finale Wednesday night — is a very silly show about a 40-year-old woman lying to people about her age, but the truest aspect of the series is its representation of the book world. The literary jokes, the name-dropping of authors, the casual mentions of influential critics. To prove this point, we’ve compiled every literary reference made on the show. Get yourself a Tequila Mockingbird cocktail and enjoy.

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30 of the Year’s Most Giftable Coffee-Table Books

Last week we rounded up the best, most giftable fiction and nonfiction books, and this week we’ve taken on coffee-table books. Below, 30 of the most beautiful, giftable options for the Star Wars freak, New York nightlife alum, wine snob, and ’90s snowboarder.

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15 of the Year’s Most Giftable Books

We’ve rounded up the best books that came out in the past year for the specific hard-to-shop-fors on your list, including, but not limited to, the Niece Currently Trying to Occupy Trump Tower, the Ferrantephile, and the Complicated Cousin. (Check back in on Monday for our comprehensive coffee-table-book gift list.)

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  • Posted 12/7/16 at 9:30 AM

Where’s the Line Between Criticism and the Novel? Somewhere Inside Lynne Tillman’s Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories

What happens to criticism when it’s quartered within a work of fiction? What becomes of fiction when it’s put in service to criticism? It’s impossible to come to general answers to these questions, but they’re hard to avoid when considering Lynne Tillman’s new book The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories, which collects three decades of work fusing the two modes of writing. You could think of the form as fiction and the content as criticism, but a simple conceptual split doesn’t account for the effects the two modes have on each other. Think of a centaur, a satyr, or a mermaid. Simple exchanges of anatomy don’t account for the hybrid creatures’ strangeness.

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