It’s a quiet week for new books. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, which famously became a blockbuster bestseller after being released as a paperback original, is now available in hardcover for the first time ever in the U.S., thanks to a new Modern Library Edition. Short story master Tessa Hadley has a new collection out, Married Love, (as a paperback original, coincidentally).
Over at Hyperallergic, art, activism, and literature collide in When We Fight, We Win!: Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World by Greg Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte. Pair with our own Bill Morris’s review of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975.
In the Prospect, an essay on anesthesia, 3D printing, teleportation, LSD, and other thought experiments on self-awareness. Also, this line: "If the spectrum of selfhood begins with the roundworm, surely it ends with Proust."
“The idea that a 'book of the year' can be assessed annually by a bunch of people – judges who have to read almost a book a day – is absurd, as is the idea that this is any way of honouring a writer.” Amit Chaudhuri in The Guardian about why the Man Booker Prize “is bad for writers.” And in these pages, Mark O'Connell asks why we care about literary awards at all.
“It was astonishing. Utterly astonishing. Everyone of them seemed . . . entranced by him." Sometimes older books get a second life given contemporary contexts; such is the case with Sinclair Lewis's 1935 It Can't Happen Here, reports Time. The book, which was written as Hitler came to power, has sold out online. See also this New Yorker piece about a recent stage adaptation of Lewis's semi-satirical novel.
At The Awl, James S. Murphy goes in-depth on the Stony Brook study, which I wrote about last week, that identified characteristics of historically successful books. In making a point about the publishing industry, he references the sale of our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s debut novel.
There's a quiet war being waged against Wyoming's wild horse population, reports The Altantic's Andrew Cohen.
At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova meditates on attention and the works of Simone Weil, among them Gravity and Grace. Popova writes that Weil “wrote beautifully of attention as contemplative practice through which we reap the deepest rewards of our humanity.”