Colm Tibn: 'I couldn't read until I was nine - my first book was an Agatha Christie'
The author on the books that make him laugh, the gay novel that changed his life, and why he wishes he were TS Eliot The book I am currently readingLearning What Love Means by Mathieu Lindon, a coming-of-age book set in Paris, including an account of Lindon's friendship with Michel Foucault and Herv Guibert. Also, Men and Apparitions by Lynne Tillman, a beautiful meditation on photography. And Martin Gayford's Modernists & Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London Painters.
May 25 9:00AM Guardian-Books

Will Midnight's Children come up golden for Salman Rushdie again?
The Man Booker prize is celebrating 50 years of the award with yet another search for the best ever winner. But can anyone beat Rushdie? One day, perhaps, the world may taste the pickles of history. They may be too strong for some palates, their smell may be overpowering, tears may rise to eyes; I hope nevertheless that it will be possible to say of them that they possess the authentic taste of truth.
May 25 8:00AM Guardian-Books

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber review - the myth of capitalist efficiency
Is your job one that makes the world a better place? If not, it is probably bullshit, part of a system that is keeping us under control I had a bullshit job once. It involved answering the phone for an important man, except the phone didn't ring for hours on end, so I spent the time guiltily converting my PhD into a book. I've also had several jobs that were not bullshit but were steadily bullshitised: interesting jobs in the media and academia that were increasingly taken up with filling out compliance forms and time allocation surveys.
May 25 6:30AM Guardian-Books

The Billion-Dollar Discount Chain: How Dollar General Remade America
There are more than 13,000 Dollar General stores in the United States.
May 24 3:20PM NPR-Books

Ode to whiteness: British poetry scene fails diversity test
Study shows poets of colour are underrepresented in the UK, as Forward poetry prizes announce trailblazing shortlists The British poetry world is failing to meet even the most basic measurements of inclusivity, according to a new report which highlights the systemic exclusion of poets and critics of colour from UK and Irish poetry magazines. Collecting data from 29 magazines and websites including PN Review, Poetry Review, the Guardian and Oxford Poetry, the study found that between 2012 and 2018, 9% of almost 20,000 published poems were by poets of colour. Of the 1,819 poems, 502 were published in a single magazine, Modern Poetry in Translation; if this is taken out of the equation, only 7% of poems were by poets of colour.
May 24 1:04PM Guardian-Books

In '84K,' Every Life And Every Death Has A Price
Claire North's new gut-punch of a novel takes place in a dystopian world where one monster corporation controls England, every service is privatized, and every life has been assigned a monetary value.
May 24 11:00AM NPR-Books

What's Going On In Your Child's Brain When You Read Them A Story?
There are many ways young children encounter stories. A new study finds a "Goldilocks effect," where a cartoon may be "too hot" and audiobooks "too cold" for learning readers.
May 24 10:05AM NPR-Books

Skybound by Rebecca Loncraine review - a euphoric, courageous book
When, with severe illness, the ground disappeared from beneath Loncraine, she decided to conquer her fear, take up gliding and head for the clouds. But I would rather be horizontal, begins Sylvia Plath's poem I am Vertical. Plath, poleaxed by depression, wishes her body to become part of the soil, yet even so looks up to the sky with a yearning for transcendence: It is more natural to me, lying down / Then the sky and I are in open conversation.
May 24 9:01AM Guardian-Books

Sophie Mackintosh: 'Dystopian feminism might be a trend, but it's also our lives
The Water Cure's author says she has not written a new Handmaid's Tale, but it would be hard for any story centred on women's lives not to be feminist The novel is set in the future but it could be now, it's not a million miles away, Sophie Mackintosh tells me, in her soft Welsh lilt, sitting in an east London cafe. Sometimes you scroll through Twitter and there is a horrible story like the Belfast rape case. You see a lot of really upsetting stories.
May 24 9:00AM Guardian-Books

Philip Roth: explorer of a golden age's dark corners | Jonathan Freedland
Roth's work evokes the sense of endless opportunity postwar America seemed to promise The legend of Philip Roth had become so great, it was almost a shock to be reminded that he was, until Tuesday, still a living writer. He had become part of the Mount Rushmore of American letters, hailed by the New York Times as the last of the great white males, his place secure alongside Saul Bellow and John Updike, themselves both long gone, as one of the towering figures of 20th-century American literature. He had won every accolade, bar the Nobel, and in 2005 the Library of America announced that it would publish Roth's works, lifting him into a pantheon that included the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Walt Whitman, only the third writer ever to receive that honour while still drawing breath.
May 24 8:01AM Guardian-Books

Connect by Julian Gough review - a dazzling technothriller
An awkward teenage boy gains superhuman abilities in this excitable story about family and digital life, set in the near future. In the final pages of Connect, its central character arrives at a climactic epiphany. Everything, Colt reflects, can be described at every level.
May 24 8:00AM Guardian-Books

Natives by Akala review - the hip-hop artist on race and class in the ruins of empire
In this memoir-polemic, the author refuses to fall into the trap of thinking his escape from poverty is proof of personal exceptionalism What was it like to grow up poor, mixed race and politicised in the Britain of the 1980s and 90s? Why is the structural racism that so evidently determines the life chances of so many non-white people virtually invisible to some of their fellow citizens? Why do the majority of people in Britain today remain convinced that the empire was a force for good in the world, despite the growing weight of evidence to the contrary? And how does a bookish youth with dreams of becoming a scientist turn, in just a few years, into a knife-carrying teenager? These, and multiple others, are the questions at the centre of Natives, the first book by the hip-hop artist and performer Akala. Related: Akala review - humility and harmony from history-making hip-hop poet Continue reading..
May 24 6:30AM Guardian-Books

Word of the week: obesogen
If it ends with -ogen, it means something is being produced - in this case something that will make us dangerously overwight Is your house a disgusting swamp of peril and sickness? The latest everything-is-terrifying news is the suggestion this week that dust and other particles around the home can be obesogens and stealthily cause us to become dangerously overweight. The suffix -gen or -ogen (from the Greek for birth; compare genesis) indicates that something is being produced. An immunogen is any substance that produces an immune response in an organism.
May 24 5:26AM Guardian-Books

How Philip Roth's Writing Transcended The Narrow Confines Of A Culture
Philip Roth, one of the country's most celebrated writers, has died at 85. Roth was known for work that was funny, often gross, and deeply connected to his Jewish roots. He won numerous awards, and was often talked about as a contender for the Nobel prize.
May 23 10:04PM NPR-Books

James Clapper Weighs In On What Role The Intelligence Community Serves
During his tenure, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper presided over a tumultuous time for the intelligence community. NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Clapper about his new book, Facts and Fears, and what he sees as the future of the intelligence community.
May 23 8:31PM NPR-Books

Philip Roth: 'You Begin Every Book As An Amateur
The influential novelist won almost every major literary award, but still found the writing process was full of discovery. "Each and every sentence is a revelation," he said. Roth died Tuesday at 85.
May 23 8:22PM NPR-Books

Rest In Peace, Philip Roth, And Thank You
NPR's Susan Stamberg shares her favorite conversation with the writer, and what she did after she heard the news of his death.
May 23 8:06PM NPR-Books

Ronan Farrow: 'I Was Raised With An Extraordinary Sense Of Public Service
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist talks about growing up the son of famous parents, investigating the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and writing his new book, War on Peace.
May 23 6:31PM NPR-Books

James Clapper On His Five Decades In Intelligence Operations
He served under three presidents, in a time when the intelligence community's role in international affairs changed dramatically.
May 23 3:06PM NPR-Books

The 1A Movie Club Sees 'Fahrenheit 451
Dystopian literature is seeing a renaissance.
May 23 2:06PM NPR-Books