10:50 AM, January 7th, 2014
In the week after his death, a casualty assistance officer sat at my kitchen table and asked if I would like to be notified if the military found partial remains, the pieces of my husband’s body that might be recovered from the crash site after his funeral. Outside a late-autumn storm was building and the air in the room was damp. The officer passed a form across the table and handed me a ballpoint pen, and I realized that this was war. Not the talk of strategy or politics, munitions or taxation; not the discussions on fiscal costs or boots on the ground jingoism. But a life disassembled, pieces trickling in over time.
2:14 PM, December 18th, 2013

Need a last-minute gift for a reader in your life? Or maybe feel like you’ll need some quiet time over the break? 

Either way, you’ll want to check out our aggregated “Best Books of 2013” list

4:51 PM, November 4th, 2013
Essays on how to be a man, a writer’s 1940s New York, a rain drenched Irish tale of murder and pursuit, and a novel filled with trash, and more of this week’s hot reads. 

Essays on how to be a man, a writer’s 1940s New York, a rain drenched Irish tale of murder and pursuit, and a novel filled with trash, and more of this week’s hot reads

12:58 PM, June 11th, 2013
Reblogged from Viking / Penguin
12:34 PM, June 11th, 2013
Reblogged from Entertainment Weekly
1:17 PM, December 12th, 2012
Reblogged from Newsweek
3:53 PM, July 13th, 2012

Why Read ‘Gold’?



It is valuable to read a book like Gold once in a while. As E.M. Forster said, a reader must sit down alone and struggle with the writer—and, worst luck, for it takes a long time to read a book. We often choose books we will love for sure, according to our tastes. (“I adore baseball, so I’m guaranteed to love The Art of Fielding.”) Or we rely on award-winners and books already sufficiently praised. (A Visit From the Goon Squad won the Pulitzer, so it must be good.”) There are too many books and too little time.

But we ought to be tested on our critical skills often, lest we fall into complacency. It can be easy to classify Gold in the many different ways it is classifiable, and to justify yourself writing it off. “It is an Olympics book, which is not a topic worthy of serious literature.” “It is sentimental, and that is not worthy of my attention.” “It is about cyclists, and I don’t care for sports.” “It is a tearjerker, and who wants to go through that?”

But reading a book like Gold allows us to struggle with the writer. Why is this particular sentimentality bad? Wuthering Heights is sentimental, and many great novels are. How far can you take pathos? Are all novels featuring a child with advanced leukemia necessarily shamelessly capitalizing on tragedy? What makes schmaltz? A well-equipped critical mind can think more about these questions as the eyes roll over the sentences. Gold is a book that’s hard to submit to, because you’re aware of its contrivances and ways it wants to manipulate you. It is the perfect book to fight against—and in the process, sharpen your critical skills. - Jimmy So

Jimmy posted this over on the nwk book club tumblr and we wanted to share with y’all on nwktumblr because, well, damn! This is a great little contemplative tumblr post.

I wrote one too!

Reblogged from Newsweek
12:35 PM, July 5th, 2012
Reblogged from NWK Book Club
1:20 PM, June 26th, 2012



We’re happy to introduce the NWK Tumblr Book Club! (We asked, and you answered!)

After consulting with our brilliant books editor, we selected 5 titles from our “Best Summer Reads of 2012” list. Now it’s up to YOU to pick which of the 5 we read first. We’ll announce your pick later this week, and let’s plan to start reading next week (July 2nd)! 

Here are summaries of the 5 books you can vote for: 

Capital by John Lanchester

Trollopian, Dickensian, Balzacian—all should spring to mind when you pick up John Lanchester’s hefty new novel about near present-day London. Set on a typical (and dear reader, atypical in having a writer as gifted as Lanchester tell its story) London street (Pepys Road), he weaves a rich story about the financial collapse and its impact on financier and graffiti artist alike. We’re all connected by capital. 

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

“Literary thinking relies upon literary memory, and the drama of recognition,” Harold Bloom once wrote. Shipstead’s first novel can be read as an unremarkable Harvard-tinted, golf-club obsessed WASP comedy about a—what else—wedding on a—where else—Cape Cod island. But read past that and it’s clear Shipstead is coming to terms with T.S. Eliot (quoted in the epigraph), Shakespeare, Arthurian legends (chapters include “The Castle of the Maidens” and “The Maimed King”), and other mythologies (“A Centaur” and “The Ouroboros”), and connecting it to the American Camelot. (Even the title “Seating Arrangements” brings to mind the round table.) This is ambitious, but if you grew up in New England, how many times have you sat on your beach chair with The Once and Future Kingand a biography of JFK, purling these mythologies in your sunned head?

The Red House by Mark Haddon

There’s a red house over yonder, and just as Jimi Hendrix splintered and exploded the blues while remaining exciting and accessible, Haddon, the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, has the same tendency on narrative. So it is that the story of Richard, a doctor who invites his sister’s family to stay at his vacation home, is told through the perspectives of eight different people, with almost each paragraph beginning with “Daisy wants happiness…” “Melissa tries to ring…” “Benjamin was crying…” At its best, it resembles a game of “Clue.”

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The rotation of the world begins to slow, and the end of days (at least, of 24-hour days) is written not only as the struggle for survival but also a terrible bummer when 11-year-old Julia tries to maintain her crush on hottie Seth Moreno. This debut novel might sound like a cross between The Lovely Bones and Lar von Trier’s film Melancholia, but the conceit is memorable and there are hilarious moments. “We were not required to squeeze our days into twenty-four little hours. No new law was passed or put into place. This was America.”

Gold by Chris Cleave

Incendiary and the mega-million bestseller Little Beedepended on the driving force of plot, and Gold is the same. But the story of three friends eyeing their last chance at a gold medal in track cycling at the 2012 Olympics (and a daughter battling leukemia) is told like one long episode of Law and Order, with each scene prefaced by a date and setting, even including the hilariously imagined “Death Star, 1:55 p.m.” and “Dagobah System, 12:55 p.m.” alternating with the heartbreakingly real “Pediatric intensive care unit, North Manchester General Hospital, 12:35 p.m.” Cleave is at last completely aware of his reliance of contrived events and emotions, just like in a television drama, and there need not be any shame in it.

To vote, fill out this quick form OR reblog this post with your pick! We’ll annouce your choice later this week and start reading next week (July 2nd)! Also, be sure to follow this Tumblr to be a part of our cool-kids-who-read club! So many exclamation points! 

It’s happening! Get up in our book club, tumblr! You’ve got a few days to vote and tell us which book we’re reading for July. AND! Make sure to follow the NWK Book Club tumblr for updates, discussion points, questions, #readingfaces, etc.

Hurray! Read the book descriptions above and then go vote! According to our Google form, you all are an average of 8.63 out of 10 on the excitement scale.  

Reblogged from Newsweek
11:42 AM, June 18th, 2012

Frontpage: Monday, June 18th

1. Obama and Putin to Meet: World leaders talked in Mexico Sunday as a meeting of the G20 nations that will focus on the world economy got underway. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Monday.

2. Markets Rally, Settle After GreeceInvestors in Europe sighed and then got back to business after a crucial Greek vote Sunday. Markets showed an early advance Monday, but soon receded as Spanish bond yields topped 7 percent and anxiety over the future of the euro zone continued unabated.

3. Attack on Israel-Egypt Border: At least one Israeli civilian was killed in what officials say was a cross-border attack by gunmen who crossed from Egypt. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called it a “disturbing deterioration.”

4. Iran Nuke Talks BeginThere’s not much hope, officials say. World leaders will nonetheless begin two days of meetings with the government of Iran on Monday to try to break the tension surrounding the country’s nuclear program.

5. Egyptian Generals Flex After VoteNo one voted for them. But Egyptian military leaders gave themselves wide-ranging new powers Sunday after the Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory in the country’s presidential election.

Read More Cheats

Photo by Aaron Jackson / AP Photos:

Empty shelves at the closed Borders bookstore at Penn Plaza in New York in September 2011.

6:27 PM, June 7th, 2012

30 whole minutes of Elizabeth Govern (aka Lady Cora from ‘Downton Abbey’) reading from Laura Moriarty’s ‘The Chaperone.’ Your welcome.

Like the story? Here’s our review, with an Amazon link.  

3:05 PM, June 5th, 2012

Like thousands of other young men and women, my son Edward graduated from college last week. My husband and I spent 21 years raising him and hoping to instill in him a love of learning, a compassionate heart, and a passion and enthusiasm for all he can do.

I was nonetheless in a panic. Have we taught him enough? Has he listened? Has he read enough? Been exposed to enough? Is he independent enough? This may sound like helicopter parenting, but as a full-time working mother my fear was of having given too little, not too much.

So we had Roxanne Cox write about the 10 books she’s sending her newly-graduated son off into the world with and it’s really practical and sweet and I could just give it a big hug. 
11:05 AM, May 9th, 2012


The power of Maurice! [tweet]

He’s not just for kids! Malcolm Jones explores Sendak’s ageless appeal

Reblogged from I'm With Kanye
A speedy, smart summary of news and must-reads from across the web and around the Tumblrverse, brought to you by The Daily Beast.