Recent Books

Daphnes book prize launched to right literary wrongs of past

John Updike shouldn’t have won the National Book Award in 1964, according to the organisers of a new retrospective book prize which is setting out to “right the wrongs of 50 years ago” by throwing titles including The Bell Jar and V into the mix. The awards, to be known as the Daphnes, are being set up by literary book site Bookslut. “If you look back at the books that won the Pulitzer or the National Book Award, it is always the wrong book,” writes editor Jessa Crispin. . . . Read More »

Henning Mankell, Wallander author, reveals cancer

The bestselling Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell has revealed that he has cancer, and that he plans to chronicle his battle with the disease in a newspaper column. The 65-year-old writer, known for his popular Kurt Wallander detective novels, delivered the news in a short but moving article in Sweden’s Göteborgs-Posten newspaper. “My anxiety is very profound, although by and large, I can keep it under control,” he wrote. . . . Read More »

Literature gloom mirrors economic misery, study finds

In what might portend some particularly gloomy literature in the 2020s, a new study has found a “dramatic” increase in the use of words expressing misery and unhappiness in books written during the 1980s. Academics at universities in Bristol and London analysed more than five million books digitised by Google, looking at how frequently words denoting different moods were used. . . . Read More »

The French love their bookstores

In the 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan stars as an independent bookseller whose livelihood is threatened by a behemoth bookstore chain owned by Tom Hanks. Thats was fifteen years ago. Today, book selling is a different game, the pendulum having swung so much to the other side that it’s the few chains left who are fighting for survival against Internet book sellers and e-books. . . . Read More »

Rediscovered Novel by Hermann Hesse, In the Old Sun, published by Coyote Canyon Press

One of Herman Hesse’s earliest novels, In the Old Sun (In der alten Sonne) was completed in 1904. The story is of novella length and comes long before the novels that were to make Hesse famous in the decades after World War II. In his early years as a writer, Hesse turned memories of his childhood home of Cawl . . . Read More »

Swintec typewriters keep clacking

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about Swintec, one of the last surviving typewriter companies in the U.S. Edward Michael, who started the company in 1985, is quoted in the article as saying, “We’re typewriters. This is our specialty. This is what we know.” . . . Read More »