Denis Johnson’s death last year was a blow to the literary world, robbing readers of one of America’s greatest fiction writers as well as one of its greatest poets. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden was finished just before his passing and gave readers the parting gift of Johnson’s first short story collection in 25 years. There is something distinctly American about the characters’ desperation in Sea Maiden, the complicated war between angels and demons inside them, and their fleeting chances for redemption. Read the title piece at TheNew Yorker.
Give David Grann’s latest a chance to get its hooks in you, and “it will sear your soul,” said Dave Eggers at The New York Times. A “riveting” true-crime tale, Killers of the Flower Moon revisits a spate of 1920s Oklahoma murders that terrorized members of the Osage tribe shortly after an oil strike turned them overnight into the wealthiest people in the world. When local law enforcement failed to identify any of the perpetrators, J. Edgar Hoover’s fledgling FBI pulled together an undercover team that unearthed a disturbing conspiracy rooted in white resentment. And until the big reveal arrives, “you will not see it coming.” But Hoover didn’t even get
The book that made my year: We spoke last year about Mike McCormack’s wonderful Solar Bones, which garnered rave reviews and a rake of prizes including the Goldsmiths and two BGE Irish Book Awards. We suspected it was only gathering speed – and we were so delighted when it was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker (thanks to Canongate publishing their gorgeous edition). And Sara Baume’s wondrous A Line Made By Walking helped make 2017 a brilliant year. Our book that deserved to do better: Our Recovered Voices series is how we republish lost classics: this year we followed up our very successful haunted house story, The Uninvited, with
As 2017 slips into the history books, take a look back at the year in culture—with the best new content that drew from the past. Whatever medium your personal passion might be, these new releases proved that what’s old can be new again.
Directors took a hard look at the past with films that explored war and race through pivotal moments in history.
Director Christopher Nolan proved that there are still new ways to frame a war epic, with Dunkirk, a retelling of an Allied evacuation during
If you read for pleasure, it makes sense if you stick to your comfort zones. You’re spending your own time and money, so why not read exactly what you like, whether that’s World War II tomes, true-crime histories, or supernatural YA?
But a bookish bubble is pernicious. The danger isn’t as overt as with the social media algorithms set up to reinforce your political beliefs with the same forceful opining over and over. But by exposing yourself only to the same set of countries, languages, and periods in history, and to characters with the same identities, backgrounds, and values, you lose out on a chance to build empathy with different groups of people, and to absorb different views of history.
It’s worth reading a political diatribe by someone you disagree with, or memoirs by people you don’t take seriously. It can be fun to hate-read cult classics. It’s important to read
Take a look at the author interviews from some of the best books of 2017.
Lincoln in the Bardo, the long-awaited first novel from American short story master George Saunders, delivers a heartbreaking and profound story of love and loss involving Abraham Lincoln, and his beloved son, Willie, who succumbed to typhoid at age eleven. The story that unfolds, and the struggle for Willie’s soul among the ghosts and apparitions that occupy the cemetery in Willie’s afterlife, is unforgettable — and also the winner of this year’s Mann Booker Prize for fiction.
Salman Rushdie’s latest book, The Golden House, marks a wonderful return to realism for acclaimed novelist, a winner himself of the Mann Booker Prize for his 1981 novel, Midnight’s Children. In his new book, Rushdie is among the first wave of authors to react to the Trump presidency—a moment rich with eccentricities and odd quirks that Rushdie mines brilliantly.
Over the next few weeks, Vulture will be publishing our critics’ year-end lists. Today, we’re looking at the best in thriller books.
The books that thrilled in 2017 are a diverse group: an excellent mix of true crime, mystery, horror, and nontraditional offerings that are gripping in their own right. As always, they offer the most unsettling version of escapism: confronted with the worst of humanity, we still manage to get lost in these stories and feel enriched by them.
It’s been a year to remember. Cardi B conquered the charts, the MeToo hashtag became a movement, and Merriam-Webster dubbed “feminism” the word of the year, while Oxford Dictionaries went with “youthquake.”
Two thousand seventeen was also quite a year for Vanity Fair contributors. And so, as you scurry about for the perfect last-minute gift books for those on your 2017 holiday list or look for your own holiday reading options, try one of these—all by members of the V.F. family.
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen. To understand America’s political and cultural hangover, this Vanity Fair contributing editor takes readers on an expansive, fantastical journey through the history of the U.S. With deep dives into America’s standout moments, including everything from the Salem witch trials and the rise of talk radio to the impact of P.T. Barnum and Hollywood, Andersen’s book is the timely antidote
This was a year when books — like the rest of us — tried to keep up with the news and did a pretty good job of it. Novels about global interconnectedness, political violence and migration; deeply reported nonfiction accounts of racial and economic strife in the United States; stories both imagined and real about gender, desire and the role of beauty in the natural world. There were several worthy works of escapism, of course, but the literary world mostly reflected the gravity and tumult of the larger world.
Below, The New York Times’ three daily book critics — Dwight Garner, Jennifer Senior and Parul Sehgal — share their thoughts about their favourites among the books they reviewed this year, each list alphabetical by author. Janet Maslin, a former staff critic who remains a frequent contributor to The Times, also lists her favourites.