Lit Hub Weekly: May 11 – 15, 2020


TODAY: In 1933  Joseph Stalin orders the NKVD to “preserve but isolate” Osip Mandelstam, after having been informed of the “Stalin Epigram”; Mandelstam is then arrested. A protest by literary figures, including Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak, prompts Stalin to declare that he might “review the case” (he never will). 

Also on Lit Hub:

Lydia Millet talks to Kristen Iversen about end times, smug liberals, and good teens • How will restaurants reinvent themselves post-lockdown? • On the unlikely optimism of Viktor Frankl • Amanda Craig on why children’s books make good companions in a crisisWayne Koestenbaum considers incense, Irish Spring, and a few other smells • Part two of Maya Alexandri’s diary of an EMT on the front lines of a pandemic • Esther Kim talks to Immanuel Kim, translator of Friend, the first state-approved North Korean novel in English • Samantha Harvey on grappling with insomnia and reckoning with the past • “How many drawings will there be? God knows.” How Edward Carey is passing the time • Reckoning with the career of Isaac Asimov, sci-fi giant and serial sexual harasser • Joseph Brodsky on glimpsing the jazz, jeans, and movie stars of America • Maria Reva recommends surreal books for surreal times • How elephant matriarchs gain power as they age • Round eight of our personalized quarantine book recommendations • David Kamp on the radical creators of Sesame Street • David Farrier on the coronavirus and the limits of our metaphors for illness • Why do some writers burn their work? Alex George investigates • Richard Lopez on the potency of single-syllable slurs

Best of Book Marks:

James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, and more rapid-fire book recs from Quotients author Tracy O’Neill • To celebrate the 95th publication anniversary of Mrs. Dalloway, here are the first reviews of every Virginia Woolf novel • Pale FireThe Prime of Miss Jean BrodieA Feather on the Breath of God, and more rapid-fire book recs from Susan Choi • And Tango Makes ThreeThe Yellow HouseOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and more rapid-fire book recs from 2020 Dylan Thomas Prize-winner Bryan Washington • Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible, Richard Ford’s Sorry For Your Trouble, and Samantha Harvey’s The Shapeless Unease all feature among the Best Reviewed Books of the Week

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New on CrimeReads:

Olivia Rutigliano on the 45 best sidekicks in detective fiction, ranked • Lisa Levy recommends five psychological thrillers out this May • Mary Keliikoa celebrates the hardest working moms in mystery fiction • S.L. Huang asks, what makes a book more thriller than sci-fi? • Francine Matthews invites you to enjoy these cozy, salt-streaked mysteries from New England’s cape and islands • Author and ER physician Daniel Kalla reflects on two converging crises: Covid-19 and the opioid epidemic • Tracy O’Neill on the domestic lives of those who spy • “We Georgians have a few things to offer to ease the pain—or at least the boredom.” Brian Panowich on the crime writers of Georgia • Scott Turow on Kindle County, Sandy Stern, and a life in fiction • Before there was Jessica Fletcher, there were the Snoop Sisters

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