Welcome to your weekly roundup of book news and literary highlights from The Thread.
This week, readers can start their own "Bowie Book Club," and The New York Times Book Review shines the spotlight on more sci-fi and fantasy.
The New York Times Book Review adds a dedicated science fiction and fantasy column
Fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin delighted fans when she announced that her occasional reviews of sci-fi and fantasy books in The New York Times Book Review will now be a regular feature.
Jemisin will have a bimonthly column in the review, called "Otherwordly," in which she reviews the latest releases in the sometimes overlooked genres.
"I'm an eclectic reader, so the new column will obviously feature science fiction, fantasy, horror, some YA, some graphic novels, some anthologies, and even some nonfiction where it impacts the genre," Jemisin wrote on her blog.
The first "Otherworldly" column is now online, and Jemisin reviews new works from China Mieville, Emma Newman, Tom Doherty and Keith Lee Morris. Her pop culture-steeped viewpoint may be refreshing to readers — Jemisin is the first to admit she's not a traditional reviewer.
"I am not a literary critic. I didn't even take lit classes in college — AP'ed out. My graduate degree is in psychology. I don't know Derrida from Adam," she wrote on her blog. "I'm not actually sure I spelled Derrida right, just now."
Jemisin has a long list of award nominations to her name for her novels and short stories. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Awards.
You already ruined Valentine's Day: The Hogwarts Great Hall is booked
So much for your magical February evening, Harry Potter fans. Tickets were available to spend Valentine's Day in the Hogwarts Great Hall, and you missed it.
The event will be held at the film set where all eight adaptations were shot, just outside London. Warner Bros. Studio offered up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a Valentine's dinner there, complete with "special Love Potion cocktails," a three-course dinner and an after-hours tour "with the chance to see sets such as the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore's office, the Weasley kitchen at The Burrow and the Malfoy Manor dining table, before enjoying a drink on Platform 9 3/4."
That wasn't all — you and your wizarding love could have ended the evening by picking up "your chosen wand."
But you weren't fast enough. The $360 tickets sold out faster than a Firebolt. Bet you wish you had a Time-Turner now, huh?
Remembering David Bowie through books
David Bowie, in addition to being a groundbreaking musician and celebrated character actor, was also an avid reader. Three years ago, he posted a list of his 100 favorite books to his Facebook page. In the wake of his death earlier this week, readers have been sharing the list and rekindling the idea of a "Bowie Book Club."
The list is as eclectic as Bowie's own musical catalog, ranging from Greek classics to Junot Diaz, and touching on genres from poetry to psychology. Flaubert, Faulkner, Kerouac, Camus — the list is like your high school syllabus with a psychedelic twist.
• "Interviews with Francis Bacon" by David Sylvester
• "Billy Liar" by Keith Waterhouse
• "Room at the Top" by John Braine
• "On Having No Head" by Douglass Harding
• "Kafka Was the Rage" by Anatole Broyard
• "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess
• "City of Night" by John Rechy
• "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz
• "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert
• "Iliad" by Homer
• "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner
• "Tadanori Yokoo" by Tadanori Yokoo
• "Berlin Alexanderplatz" by Alfred Doblin
• "Inside The Whale and Other Essays" by George Orwell
• "Mr. Norris Changes Trains" by Christopher Isherwood
• "Halls Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art" by James A. Hall
• "David Bomberg" by Richard Cork
• "Blast" by Wyndham Lewis
• "Passing" by Nella Larson
• "Beyond the Brillo Box" by Arthur C. Danto
• "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes
• "In Bluebeard's Castle" by George Steiner
• "Hawksmoor" by Peter Ackroyd
• "The Divided Self" by R. D. Laing
• "The Stranger" by Albert Camus
• "Infants of the Spring" by Wallace Thurman
• "The Quest for Christa T" by Christa Wolf
• "The Songlines" by Bruce Chatwin
• "Nights At The Circus" by Angela Carter
• "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov
• "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" by Muriel Spark
• "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
• "Herzog" by Saul Bellow
• "Puckoon" by Spike Milligan
• "Black Boy" by Richard Wright
• "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
• "The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea" by Yukio Mishima
• "Darkness At Noon" by Arthur Koestler
• "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot
• "McTeague" by Frank Norris
• "Money" by Martin Amis
• "The Outsider" by Colin Wilson
• "Strange People" by Frank Edwards
• "English Journey" by J.B. Priestley
• "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
• "The Day of the Locust" by Nathanael West
• "1984" by George Orwell
• "The Life and Times of Little Richard" by Charles White
• "Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock" by Nik Cohn
• "Mystery Train" by Greil Marcus
• "Beano" A comic from the 1950s
• "Raw" A comic from the 1980s
• "White Noise" by Don DeLillo
• "Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom" by Peter Guralnick
• "Silence: Lectures and Writing" by John Cage
• "Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews," edited by Malcolm Cowley
• "The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll" by Charlie Gillete
• "Octobriana and the Russian Underground" by Peter Sadecky
• "The Street" by Ann Petry
• "Wonder Boys" by Michael Chabon
• "Last Exit To Brooklyn" By Hubert Selby, Jr.
• "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn
• "The Age of American Unreason" by Susan Jacoby
• "Metropolitan Life" by Fran Lebowitz
• "The Coast Of Utopia" by Tom Stoppard
• "The Bridge" by Hart Crane
• "All the Emperor's Horses" by David Kidd
• "Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters
• "Earthly Powers" by Anthony Burgess
• "The 42nd Parallel" by John Dos Passos
• "Tales of Beatnik Glory" by Ed Saunders
• "The Bird Artist" by Howard Norman
• "Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music" by Gerri Hirshey
• "Before the Deluge" by Otto Friedrich
• "Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson" by Camille Paglia
• "The American Way of Death" by Jessica Mitford
• "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote
• "Lady Chatterly's Lover" by D.H. Lawrence
• "Teenage" by Jon Savage
• "Vile Bodies" by Evelyn Waugh
• "The Hidden Persuaders" by Vance Packard
• "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin
• "Viz" A comic from the early 1980s
• "Private Eye" A satirical magazine from the 1960s to 1980s
• "Selected Poems" by Frank O'Hara
• "The Trial of Henry Kissinger" by Christopher Hitchens
• "Flaubert's Parrot" by Julian Barnes
• "Maldodor" by Comte de Lautréamont
• "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac
• "Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders" by Lawrence Weschler
• "Zanoni" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
• "Transcendental Magic, Its Doctine and Ritual" by Eliphas Lévi
• "The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels
• "The Leopard" by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa
• "Inferno" by Dante Alighieri
• "A Grave for a Dolphin" by Alberto Denti di Pirajno
• "The Insult" by Rupert Thomson
• "In Between the Sheets" by Ian McEwan
• "A People's Tragedy" by Orlando Figes
• "Journey into the Whirlwind" by Eugenia Ginzburg
The Story Prize: Minnesota author Charles Baxter named as finalist
Charles Baxter's short story collection, "There's Something I Want You to Do," was named as a finalist for the Story Prize. Baxter teaches writing at the University of Minnesota, and was previously a finalist for the National Book Award for his book "Feast of Love." In his new collection, the interconnected stories are tied together by the title phrase, which characters repeat throughout the book.
Baxter is up against Adam Johnson and his book "Fortune Smiles," which won the National Book Award. The stories in "Fortune Smiles" leap around the globe, and touch on everything from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana to North Korean defectors adjusting to life in Seoul. The third finalist is Colum McCann for his collection, "Thirteen Ways of Looking," which explores how people grapple with violence and loss.
The annual Story Prize includes a $20,000 top prize and $5,000 for each runner-up. This year's judges are author Anthony Doerr, Book Riot contributing editor Rita Meade and New Yorker staff writer Kathryn Schulz. The winner will be announced on March 2.