Game over: why haven’t dating guides woken up to new sexual politics?


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A domestic violence charity had called for the end of Neil Strauss’ pickup artist book The Game – but dating guides aimed at both women and men are full of retrograde advice

Before writing The Game, Neil Strauss was a self-described “lump of nerd”. But his 2005 bestseller, which has shifted more than 3m copies around the world (270,000 in the UK), revealed the secrets of his midlife transformation into a ladies’ man, through time spent in the company of professional pickup artists. Techniques revealed by Strauss – practised long before his book, but never before exposed to such a big audience – included “negging” (making negative comments to lower a woman’s self-esteem so she’ll stay to earn approval) and “cavemanning” (aggressively escalating physical contact).

None of this reads very well in 2019 and this week, the director of women’s charity Zero Tolerance Rachel Adamson called for UK publisher Canongate ...

Stieg Larsson’s investigation of Swedish PM’s assassination revealed in new book


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s author was also a campaigning journalist and amassed a huge archive researching the 1986 murder of Olof Palme

Unseen research by the late Stieg Larsson into the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme is set to be revealed in a new true crime book.

Larsson is most famous for his bestselling Millennium series of thrillers that explored the dark underbelly of Swedish society and politics. A journalist for his much of his life, he died suddenly in 2004, just months after selling his first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. He left behind completed manuscripts for the two sequels, which have together sold 80m copies around the world.

Continue reading...

Women write fantasy for grown-ups, too


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Why are female authors’ adult fantasy novels so often marketed at teenagers?

Why are adult fantasy novels by women often marketed at teenagers? This is the question an article on the website BookRiot has posited, arguing that unconscious sexism is to blame. “As more women’s novels get mistakenly classified as young adult, it furthers the message that grownup fantasy and sci-fi are for men. Sure, women can write for teens who like The Hunger Games, but for the ‘real’ fantasy readers? Try again,” wrote Mya Nunnally.

Sexism exists in science fiction and fantasy: until recently, the genre has remained stubbornly white and male but for the rise of authors including Nnedi Okorafor or NK Jemisin. Every time the Guardian runs reviews of sci-fi by women, commenters invariably debate whether it is sci-fi at all. But while YA fiction as we know it has been around since the ...

Porn, opioids and a freezer full of cigarettes: what one cleaner saw in America’s homes


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




As a single parent caught in the welfare trap, Stephanie Land got the only job she could, tidying homes for the comfortably well-off. Now she has turned her experiences into an acclaimed new book

At first glance, it’s not immediately obvious that the toddler in the video I am watching is taking her first wobbly steps in a homeless shelter. Watching the tiny girl babble to her mother behind the camera, I am distracted by how spotless the floor looks. Yet in the eyes of Stephanie Land, the person who cleaned it, it was appalling: “Years of dirt were etched into the floor. No matter how hard I scrubbed, I could never get it clean.”

People such as Land are perhaps the biggest threat to the myth of the American Dream: someone who worked hard, yet found her very country pitted against her success. Her new book, Maid: ...

The prince of punching up: why Stephen King rules Twitter


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The 71-year-old Harley-driving novelist saved a newspaper with a tweet when he heard it was closing its books section – and when he takes on Trump, he doesn’t hold back

Stephen King, Cher, Steve Martin, Sir Patrick Stewart: the fight for the title of best septuagenarian on Twitter (and possibly the dream lineup for an actual fight) has been decidedly won by King this week. After the Maine newspaper the Portland Press Herald announced that it would cut its reviews section dedicated to books by local writers, the horror author urged his 5.1m followers to pressure them: “Tell the paper DON’T DO THIS.”

The newspaper promised to keep the section if it got 100 new subscribers; within 48 hours, it had 200 and journalism was saved. Moral of the story: take out that Guardian subscription, guys.

Continue reading...

‘A star is born’: TS Eliot prize goes to Hannah Sullivan’s debut


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Poet’s ‘absolutely exhilarating’ first collection Three Poems takes £25,000 prize

Poet Hannah Sullivan has won the prestigious and lucrative TS Eliot prize for her first collection Three Poems – just the third debut to land the award in its 25-year history, and a sign that the poetry world is hunting for a new generation of voices.

Sullivan, a 39-year-old Londoner who won the £25,000 prize on Monday night, is the third first time poet to take the prize, with all three winning in the last five years: Vietnamese-American Ocean Vuong in 2017 and Chinese-British Sarah Howe in 2015. Before then, the prize had tended to be awarded to more established poets a few collections into their careers, among them Derek Walcott, Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.

Continue reading...

Cat Person fame was ‘annihilating’, reveals Kristen Roupenian


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Recalling the viral success of her short story about sex and modern dating, Roupenian says attention was both a dream and a nightmare

A year after her short story Cat Person was debated and picked apart by millions of readers around the world, the author Kristen Roupenian has recalled what it was like dealing with the scrutiny that came with her sudden prominence.

Writing in the New Yorker, which first published Cat Person in December 2017, the American writer explains she had only been published in small journals before she debuted in the magazine with her story about Margot and Robert, framed around a single bad date.

Continue reading...

Normal People: how Sally Rooney’s novel became the literary phenomenon of the decade


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Booksellers are keeping stashes behind counters, others are having to put signs in windows to say it’s in stock … What is it about the novel that has resonated with so many people?

A good measure of a book’s success is: are booksellers tired of being asked if they have it in stock? In one south London bookshop, the owner has put a sign in the window advising that yes, they do have copies of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, the literary phenomenon of the year.

This week, Rooney, 27, became the youngest novelist ever to land the Costa awards’ best novel category. Normal People is now favourite to win the prize for overall book of the year at the end of the month. Her second novel has been a surprise – not for its quality, which was assured after her confident debut Conversations with Friends – but for the response ...

A good bookshop is not just about the books – at last we realise that | Sian Cain


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Amazon may have lower prices, but it can never replace a real shop with a book lover on hand to guide us

When asked to think of a bookshop, most of us are likely to conjure up an ineffable sense of calm and cosiness, a general notion of wisdom and aspiration, rather than an actual place.

Why we have such emotional links to bookshops, and what distinguishes them from, say, a shoe shop or a supermarket, is hard to define. Perhaps it is the inherent value of books and, more widely, knowledge, or the sense that reading can better us. Philip Pullman once described independent bookshops as “the lantern bearers of civilisation”; perhaps it is that bookshops, like libraries, feel like sanctuaries. (Except perhaps on Christmas Eve.) Or, the niggling sense that all those Mr Men and Enid Blytons somehow shaped us into who we are today, and the ...

Simon Armitage wins Queen’s gold medal for poetry 2018


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Huddersfield poet was praised for spinning ‘poems of emotional weight and musical grace from the fabric of our everyday lives’ by laureate Carol Ann Duffy

English poet and novelist Simon Armitage has been awarded the Queen’s gold medal for poetry for his body of work “giving voice to those rarely admitted into poetry, and extending an arm around the unheard and the dispossessed”.

The Huddersfield poet, who began writing poetry while working as a probation officer in Greater Manchester, has written 21 collections over his career, the most famous being Book of Matches, which features many poems included on the GCSE English literature syllabus. He has also translated multiple early English works including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and worked on several history documentaries for the BBC. Awarded a CBE in 2010 for his services to poetry, Armitage is currently professor of poetry at Oxford University and Leeds ...

‘I’d love to scream at them’: how showroomers became the No 1 threat to bookshops


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Customers who visit stores only to research their online purchases are the biggest threat to the industry – and booksellers are taking a stand

Of all the insults that booksellers stomach, the most awful is the newest. Gone are the days when it was someone shoving a book down their pants or defecating in the travel aisle that made your afternoon that little bit bleaker. Now it is “showrooming”: when customers go to physical shops only to research purchases they will make online. This is a particular bugbear of the booksellers who have been engaged in a David and Goliath battle with online retailers for the past decade.

Last weekend, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, tweeted a rebuke of the “people taking pictures of books and buying them from #Amazon in the store and even bragging about it”: “This is not OK, people. Find it here. Buy it here. ...

Hank Green: ‘I used all my power to make YouTube powerful, good and strong’


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The brother of author John Green reveals the pressure he felt writing his first novel, and reflects on the what has become of the video platform that made their names

A few weeks ago, billboards began sprouting up around Orlando, Florida, with advertisements for Hank Green’s first novel An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. On the face of it, this was not such a remarkable thing. After all, Green is a local boy and, being one half of popular YouTube channel Vlogbrothers (3.1 million subscribers, 711m views), it could be expected that his publishers might shell out for marketing. Except this was all paid for by his own brother: young adult novelist (and the other Vlogbrother) John Green – and just one part of John’s larger effort to promote Hank’s debut across the globe. (Among others, a professional women’s Frisbee team in Texas, AFC Wimbledon, the Netherlands’ national quidditch team and ...

Bookselling is the most over-romanticised job in the world | Sian Cain


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This Bookshop Day, think of the booksellers who are dealing with bodily fluids, insufferable know-it-alls and shoplifters – and doing it all for the joy of reading

Readers around the world cooed last month when a Welsh bookseller announced he was giving away his shop to a regular customer. It was a lovely story, but as an ex-bookseller of five years, I could only dwell on the harsh realities this unsuspecting man would inherit: slow days, stocktaking and, unavoidably, a few regular oddballs.

Bookselling has been relentlessly romanticised, most often by Hollywood: in truth, it is further away from You’ve Got Mail (Tom Hanks’s snazzy shop Fox Books would have been toppled by the internet) and much closer to that moment in Notting Hill when Hugh Grant catches Dylan Moran ferreting away a book in his pants. This actually happened at a bookshop I worked in: a man was caught ...

Patrick O’Brian’s unknown poems discovered in a drawer


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Cache of more than 100 pieces, of which even his family was unaware, will be published next year as The Uncertain Land and Other Poems

• Read two of the poems below

After sitting in a desk drawer for almost 20 years, a large cache of poetry by the British author Patrick O’Brian has been discovered, with the majority unknown even to his own family.

More than 100 poems, which will be collected and published as The Uncertain Land and Other Poems next March, were discovered this year when trustees for the O’Brian estate handed over a manila folder containing the poems. They had been written between the early 1940s to the late 1970s.

Continue reading...

Hannibal Lecter creator Thomas Harris announces first book in 13 years


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The unnamed 2019 novel will be Harris’s first book since 2006’s Hannibal Rising, but will also be his first in more than 40 years without his famous cannibal

More than a decade since his last book, Thomas Harris – author and creator of one of literature’s most famous monsters, the sophisticated psychopathic cannibal Hannibal Lecter – is set to release a new novel.

The as-yet unnamed novel has long been anticipated since 2004 when Harris signed a reported eight-figure deal for two books: the first was 2006’s Hannibal Rising but no details of a second have ever been revealed.

Continue reading...

Myth-busting study of teenage brains wins Royal Society prize


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Inventing Ourselves by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore wins £25,000 prize with investigation praised by judges as ‘truly a book that everyone should read’

A radical reframing of our understanding of the teenage mind, that explains typically ridiculed behaviours such as risk-taking, emotional instability and heightened self-consciousness as outward signs of great transformation, has won the prestigious Royal Society prize for science book of the year.

Two thousand years since Socrates said that teenagers have “bad manners, contempt for authority, show disrespect for elders and love chatter in the place of exercise”, Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by neuroscientist Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore has scooped the £25,000 prize on Monday night. Blakemore is the fourth woman to win the prize over its 30-year history, and also the fourth in a row, following Cordelia Fine for her book Testosterone Rex last year, Andrea Wulf in 2016 for The Invention of Nature ...

‘I was a real artist until I turned 11’: the anxieties of New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




After documenting ‘micro-unkindnesses’ and advising strangers in her agony column, Finck has now trained her pen on herself in graphic memoir Passing for Human

Consider all the small anxieties that pepper your average day, to leave you quietly irritated or uncomfortable. They might be so ordinary that you barely realise you’re bothered; perhaps a manspreader on your commute, a person who walked into you while gazing at their phone, the coffee queue jumper.

New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck calls these “micro-unkindnesses – the tiny permutations of rudeness that people perform on one another”. From afar (lurking on her Instagram), it is easy to identify Finck’s main bugbears: the strange distribution of seats in her local cafe in New York, boorish people blundering into her personal space, slow walkers. But it’s this eye for small annoyances that makes her so popular. She may feel that her constant existential terror makes her ...

Paul McCartney announces picture book, Hey Grandude


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Set for a 2019 release, the former Beatle said his book about a magical grandfather is written for ‘for grandparents everywhere’

Following in the footsteps of fellow children’s book luminaries Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Madonna, Paul McCartney is to write his own picture book.

Hey Grandude follows an elderly, magical gentleman called Grandude – who “represents grandfathers everywhere”, according to McCartney – and his adventures with his four grandchildren.

Continue reading...

John Steinbeck was a sadistic womaniser, says wife in memoir


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Gwyn Conger Steinbeck’s newly unearthed book tells of troubled marriage to author

John Steinbeck’s wife Gwyn Conger Steinbeck describes the author as “a sadistic man” and a serial womaniser, in a newly unearthed memoir found in Wales, which is set to be published for the first time this week.

The manuscript for My Life With John Steinbeck, by the author’s second wife and mother of his two children, has been in Montgomery, Powys ever since its ghostwriter, the British journalist Douglas Brown, died on holiday in Yorkshire in the 1990s. The manuscript was passed to Brown’s brother in Montgomery and was recently discovered by his neighbour Bruce Lawton, who is publishing it.

Continue reading...

Sally Rooney teaches us millennials should be written about, not ridiculed | Sian Cain


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Normal People makes being young a drama of universal significance – and, for a millennial such as me, rings entirely true

“The first great millennial author,” rave reviews have dubbed Sally Rooney, one of five millennials on this year’s Man Booker longlist, who, in just two books, has also earned the monikers “Salinger for the Snapchat generation” and “Jane Austen of the precariat”. Rooney herself describes her books as “just a bunch of fake people in a room talking to each other” – but Normal People, her second book, is far more than that.

The critics praising Normal People in the national media right now are, for the most part, well outside the millennials’ bracket (by most definitions, aged between their early 20s and late 30s). Not that youth is a prerequisite for enjoyment – Rooney’s gift for interiority is undeniable, no matter your age – but being ...