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  • Posted 2/26/17 at 2:51 PM

Australian Children’s Books Author Recounts Aggressive Detainment by U.S. Immigration Officials

One of Australia’s most popular children’s book authors, Mem Fox, has gone on record to share a terrifying experience that she underwent at LAX earlier this month. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Fox recounted how after landing at Los Angeles from Australia en route to a literary conference in Milwaukee, she was detained for over two hours and aggressively interrogated by the airport’s border-control agents, who claimed she was traveling with an incorrect visa. “I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said. “I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.” Fox, who likened her experience at the airport to being “a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay,” blames President Donald Trump for creating an environment that encourages this type of behavior. “This is what happens when extremists take power,” she explained. “I am old and white, innocent and educated, and I speak English fluently. Imagine what happened to the others in the room, including an old Iranian woman in her 80s, in a wheelchair. The way I was treated would have made any decent American shocked to the core, because that’s not America as a whole, it really isn’t.”

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A Book Publisher Has Really Committed to Trolling Sean Spicer on Twitter

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been hazed pretty hard since taking over his role in Donald Trump’s administration. His combative, impatient behavior with the media makes him seem prone to tantrums, which resulted in the damning send-up of him on Saturday Night Live by Melissa McCarthy, and now he’s got a book publisher relentlessly trolling him on Twitter. Lately, things have escalated toward the absurd. Below, a selection of the book publisher’s comments:

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Matthew Weiner on His Upcoming Novel, Mad Men Reunions, and Answering Questions From Fans

On Thursday, the Taschen bookstore in Beverly Hills hosted a Mad Men reunion. The cast — including Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Paré, Kevin Rahm, and Ben Feldman — along with writers and designers came out to fete the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, for the launch of the commemorative, two-volume Mad Men book set. As Hamm joked, “Both of my wives are here, so it’s a little awkward for me.”

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  • Posted 2/21/17 at 2:20 AM

Long Lost Walt Whitman Novel Has Been Found 165 Years Later

Walt Whitman might be best known for his genre-defying poetic masterpiece Leaves of Grass, but the 19th-century writer was far from a one trick pony. Last year, graduate student Zachary Turpin discovered a long lost Dickensian serialized novel written by Whitman that was last seen in print 165 years ago, reports the New York Times. The 36,000-word story Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, is a first-person narrative following an orphan on his journey through New York, which included a full cast of colorful, diabolical money-and-power-hungry characters, as well as “virtuous Quakers” and a “sultry Spanish dancer.” Researchers believe that the work was never reprinted after it was published anonymously in the New York–area newspaper The Sunday Dispatch.

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  • Posted 2/17/17 at 10:50 AM

The Golden Girls Proved Its Fearlessness Yet Again When It Tackled the AIDS Epidemic

When The Golden Girls debuted earlier this week on Hulu, scores of fans — most of us no doubt wearied by the constant worrying news out of Washington — turned to the streaming service in search of some comforting, familiar slut jokes and St. Olaf stories.

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Mick Jagger Wrote a Crazy Memoir, and We’re Likely Never Going to See It

You can’t always get what you want, especially if that thing you want is a tell-all memoir written by a certain man named Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger. In a piece for Britain’s Spectator, publisher and rock historian John Blake has revealed that despite Jagger being vocal throughout his entire life about not having a desire to write down his extraordinary life experiences, he had, in fact, written a “75,000-word manuscript” in the early 1980s that Blake is currently in possession of. As the story goes, Jagger was approached in the 1970s to write a memoir with a massive monetary advance, but his interest gradually waned and he walked away from the project. In the 1980s, though, Jagger ultimately decided he wanted to pursue the memoir, and wrote a “pristine typescript” that has still not seen the light of day. “So far as I have been able to ascertain, a publisher rejected the manuscript because it was light on sex and drugs,” Blake explained. “In the early 1980s, when it was written, shock and awe was a vital part of any successful autobiography. Read now, however, it is a little masterpiece. A perfectly preserved time capsule written when the Stones had produced all their greatest music but still burned with the passion and fire of youth and idealism.”

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  • Posted 2/14/17 at 10:22 PM

Philip Pullman Will Return To His Popular Material With New Fantasy Trilogy The Book Of Dust

It’s been 17 years since Philip Pullman released the last book in the best-selling His Dark Material trilogy, but now the celebrated British fantasy author is returning to the world of Lyra Belacqua and daemons for a companion series The Book of Dust. According to The Guardian, the long-rumored trilogy will include several returning characters, like the aforementioned Lyra, and will dive into the nature of “dust,” a mysterious particle that is used in the original series as a stand-in for the bible’s original sin and the power of self-awareness. Pullman didn’t give away too many details, but he did reveal that “at the centre of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.” Hmm, a series of dystopian novels? Perhaps that could resonate with readers in 2017. Perhaps. The first installment will reportedly come out in October, but if Hollywood wants to try adapting it, they better remember to give Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig some better special effects.

‘I’m Gonna Give Up My Best Gift’: George Saunders Discusses the Writing of His Offbeat Debut Novel Lincoln in the Bardo

The 2013 publication of Tenth of December, George Saunders’s fourth collection of loopy satirical stories about consumerism, compassion, dystopian theme parks, and American failures, was hailed as the apotheosis of his art. The best-selling collection (not an oxymoron) was called “the best book you’ll read all year” on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. But Tenth turns out to have been a warm-up for Saunders, a bridge to something completely new.

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Haven’t Been Terrified Yet Today? Listen to Zach Galifianakis Narrate a Creepy Short Story about a Boy and His Dog

Hold your tuna-fish sandwich tight and hope for the best as you listen to Zach Galifianakis read “Next Big Thing” by Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes. The brief tale is made approximately one 1,000 more horrifying by Galifianakis’s foreboding delivery and the video’s ominous music. Illustrated by artist Daniel Anum Jasper, the video was made as a part of the upcoming book Stories for Ways and Means, which will feature original stories by musicians like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Kathleen Hanna, and the Pixies’ Frank Black, with accompanying videos featuring voice-over by the likes of Danny DeVito and Nick Offerman. Proceeds from the project will go to Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National, and other children-focused nonprofits. Galifianakis’s narration ends before the finale of the story, but if the chills running up your spine are any indication, Oscar and his dog Krypto are about to get their asses kicked on that bridge in a terrifically spooky manner.

  • Posted 2/11/17 at 11:48 AM

Margaret Atwood Says Donald Trump’s Presidency Boosted The Handmaid’s Tale Sales

Following a Super Bowl advertisement for Hulu’s upcoming adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the 1985 dystopian novel — which focuses on the vast oppression of women in a theocratic dictatorship — experienced a massive resurgence in interest and quickly topped the charts on Amazon’s best-sellers list. Atwood took note of the skyrocketing sales over the past week, and although she acknowledges that the sporting event helped her novel reach a larger audience, she believes the real reason behind the boosted sales to be Donald Trump and the increased focus on women’s issues that came with the U.S. election. “When it first came out it was viewed as being far-fetched,” Atwood said in an interview during Cuba’s international book fair. “However, when I wrote it I was making sure I wasn’t putting anything into it that human beings had not already done somewhere at some time.”

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7 Books You Need to Read This February

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

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  • Posted 2/6/17 at 2:53 PM

The Handmaid’s Tale Is the Latest Dystopian Novel to Become an Amazon Bestseller

Maybe it was Hulu’s big Super Bowl commercial for its upcoming TV adaptation, maybe it was the unnerving resurgence of sexism in American discourse, but The Handmaid’s Tale has suddenly become a hot commodity. Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, which focuses on the oppression of women in a theocratic society, currently sits at the top of Amazon’s best-seller list. Fittingly, The Handmaid’s Tale beat out alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos’s controversial book Dangerous, which is second on the list. George Orwell’s 1984, another dystopian classic that became a lot more popular recently, (and is coming to Broadway) is currently third on the list. Let’s pray that nothing happens that would make us all pick up The Road.

Deal of the Day: An Amazon Kindle for 25% Off

The Strategist is a new site designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best notebook, black T-shirts, fashion-editor-approved jeans, toothbrush, and apartment décor. Note that all prices are subject to change.

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Suggestions for Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen’s Book Club

Earlier this week, Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen just founded what is surely one of the most exclusive book clubs on Earth, and Kim has already revealed the first book on their list: Embraced by the Light, by Betty J. Eadie, a best-selling account of Eadie’s near-death experience after surgery in 1973. Now that they’ve got their spiritual bases covered (though let’s be honest, if they’re really into NDEs, they should watch The OA) what else could the trio — rounded out by Kim’s favorite hairstylist Jen Atkin — add to their to their Amazon carts for the club? We have some suggestions. And no, before you ask, Kim hasn’t declared Selfish the hardback du jour, and that was a lame joke to make. We humbly submit the following:

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12 Romantic Books That Won’t Make You Gag

You know the difference between that newly in-love feeling of being on the the wings of soaring angels versus, well, the unfortunate reality of being seated next to some cringe-worthy PDA? Romantic books can run that gamut, too. And some of the loveliest books about love aren’t actually romance novels at all (not that there’s anything wrong if they are). In anticipation of the big V., here are 12 books about love that won’t make you gag (or be ashamed to hold them in full view on the subway). Added plus: You’ll love reading them whether you’re in a relationship or not.

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  • Posted 2/1/17 at 12:01 PM

Hillary Clinton Is Writing a Book of Personal Essays

Simon & Schuster will publish a collection of personal essays by Hillary Clinton this fall, the Associated Press reports. The inspiration is “favorite quotations she has drawn upon,” though it will also include some material on the 2016 presidential race. Clinton is the author of several other books, including Hard Choices; Living History; Dear SocksDear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets; and It Takes a Village — the latter of which will be reissued this year. Along with the personal-essay collection, the AP reports that she’ll be working with the speakers bureau Harry Walker Agency again. As for the still-untitled book, it will presumably include a foreword by Katy Perry.

Book Club Moms, Rejoice! Viola Davis and Julia Roberts Are Starring in a Jodi Picoult Book Adaptation

Moms love Julia Roberts, and Julia Roberts loves them, and they love her for loving them. After stopping by Mother's Day and signing on to the mom-friendly TV series Today Will Be Different, Julia Roberts is doing an adaptation of Jodi Picoult's recent novel Small Great Things, alongside Viola Davis, who is beloved by moms (The Help!) and, honestly, the whole world. The story follows a black nurse who's ordered not to touch a white supremacist couple's baby; when the baby dies in her care, the couple sues her. Expect lots of tears, and if this movie is going to reach peak mom, some sort of appearance from Reese Witherspoon.

We’re Getting at Least One New George R.R. Martin Story in 2017

Even if The Winds of Winter doesn't come out in 2017 as promised, we're still guaranteed at least one new piece of writing by George R.R. Martin this year. Eagle-eyed fans have discovered the online presence of an anthology called Book of Swords, set to come out October 10, which promises a new story from Martin "set in the world of Game of Thrones." As with Martin's recent anthology contributions "The Princess and the Queen" and "The Rogue Prince," it seems likely that the story in Book of Swords will be comprised of previously written historical material cut from The World of Ice and Fire, with one ASOIAF expert speculating it will be a version of "The Sons of the Dragon," a story about Aenys and Maegor Targaryen that Martin has read at fan conventions over the years. Which is another way of saying that this won't slow him down from writing TWOW at all. You can relax!

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  • Posted 1/26/17 at 1:36 PM

George Saunders’s New Novel — His First — Is Very, Very Weird

George Saunders’s face isn’t on any coins, but the post office issuing a Saunders stamp someday seems plausible. He’s not quite as beloved as the president who strides glumly through his new book, but for a writer, his approval ratings are high.

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Kellyanne Conway’s ‘Alternative Facts’ Inspire Masses to Buy Book 1984

Faced with a new administration that believes in proudly trumpeting "alternative facts" — or, as we previously called them, "lies" — Americans seem to be turning to answers from a book about a dystopia that is looking more and more plausible: George Orwell's 1984. The aforementioned "alternative facts" is a term coined by President Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway when she defended White House press secretary Sean Spicer's easily disproven falsehoods about Trump's inauguration on Sunday's Meet the Press. Orwell's classic, which has long been a staple of classrooms, features a totalitarian government that attempts to control the public by altering the English language into "newspeak." By changing the meaning of words and erasing words altogether — much like changing a "proven falsehood" into an "alternative fact" — the political party hoped to control people's ability to have original thought. According to The Hollywood Reporter, following Conway's viral statement, the 1949 novel jumped onto Amazon's top-five-seller list by midday Tuesday. Though we've also heard the alternative fact that Amazon's top five is currently made up of five different editions of Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal.

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