Gatsby Meets Native Son in This Stunning Booker Prize Winner

I have a friend, who when I first met him, seemed to only be able to read Booker Prize shortlist and winning books. Every reading group, when it came time for him to pick, he chose a Booker. Sometimes an Orange or a Whitbread prizewinner would sneak in but never a National Book Critics Circle or National Book Award winner. I felt his choices were downright un-American. But they were almost always good. One, The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga has stuck with me for years and on revisiting it for this review I realized how much I missed the first time I read it and how much this book rewards a second and third trip.

A sort of a murderous Indian Gatsby without the thwarted love and the faux polish, Balram Malwi is a poor man who does whatever he must in order to break out of the lowly social caste and appalling life into which he is born.

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The Comic Con Experience that Changed My Opinion of Graphic Novels Forever

Early this year, I was reading a Joe Hill novel and I noticed a back-ad for his graphic novel collaboration with artist Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key. I had never read a graphic novel or had much desire to, but the concept was intriguing—and it was Joe Hill, so that in and of itself was interesting to me. At that time, though, I really only gave it a passing thought. Then, in July, I was working at the Simon & Schuster booth at San Diego Comic Con, handing out promotional items, answering questions, and escorting authors. I was flipping through the show program during a slow moment and noticed that Joe Hill would be having a signing in the booth right next to ours later that morning. I figured I would have him sign a copy of his novel Heart Shaped Box, but then it hit me – this was Comic Con! I had been interested in that Joe Hill graphic novel, so…when in Rome! I weaved through the throngs of cosplayers to the IDW booth and purchased my very first graphic novel: Locke & Key #1: Welcome to Lovecraft.

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A Life Without Enemies

I’m interested in politics to the extent that I am loud and opinionated and enjoy yelling at people who don’t agree with me— all of this preferably while savoring pretentious coffee in a major metropolitan area. In other words, I am a registered Democrat. But! Regardless of affiliation, I’ve always…

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The Dog Days of Reading

In his NY Times bestselling book, Travels with Casey, Benoit Denizet-Lewis and his Labrador take a funny, touching cross-country RV trip through thirty-two states and into the heart of America’s relationship with dogs. Here’s Denizet-Lewis’s list of must-read books about every dog lover’s favorite subject – dogs! As I read dog…

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Romancing the Snail

What’s the most creative thing you’ve done to catch a beloved’s attention? If it doesn’t involve piercing them with a delicate Cupid’s arrow (technically a gypsobelum; more whimsically known as a “love dart”) that you’ve crafted inside your own body, then you might want to take a lesson from a…

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Enter a World Where Belief is Suspended

My relationship with Miranda July began a mere three weeks ago, when disaffected 20-somethings across the nation—ahem, across northern Brooklyn—alighted upon her whimsical “Somebody” iphone app. Through this app, one composes a message complete with stage direction and selects an intended recipient. Once finalized, this message “floats” until an enthusiastic…

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Book That Changed My Life

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People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.

-Saul Bellow