#tobyreads: On Book Groups & De Facto Extra Credit

I may have lost track of the number of book groups I’m in at this point. Four? Five? I run one, and am now in the semi-regular position of putting together the reading list for early 2014. (One prediction: the expanded edition of Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love will make an appearance.) It’s something I value a lot — getting to talk about books with smart people is never not time well spent, and in a lot of cases, I’ve […]

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Gary Shteyngart’s Blurbs: The Movie

On the first episode of All Things Considered of the new year in 2001, there was a story on the many children of  Screamin’ Jay Hawkins coming together and meeting for the first time. When I say many, I don’t mean Catholic or Hasidic many, I mean 57. The man who crooned “I put a Spell on You” and “Constipation Blues” had 57 children living in various places, and they all came together for this reunion of sorts. I thought about that […]

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Vol. 1 Brooklyn Presents: The Collected Blurbs of Gary Shteyngart, Live

You can have a truly amazing novel about to come out that might change the course of American literature for the next half-century, but does it have a Gary Shteyngart blurb on the the cover? That’s really all that matters. The Shteyngart blurb has become almost a seal of approval that, while comical in the sheer amount of books he’s actually blurbed, are actually really good ways to tell if you’re going to like a book or not. Inspired by […]

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Morning Bites: Anti-Putin punk, Malick’s muse, On Englander, fantasy illustrators, and more

“They were dressed in summery short dresses and tights, but brightly colored balaclavas masked their faces. Dancing frantically to keep warm, they launched into a song that could be delicately titled “Putin Got Scared,” though the lyrics in Russian were ruder than that.” – Pussy Riot, our new favorite band on the planet, gets profiled by NPR. Gary Shteyngart, Douglas Rushkoff, and a bunch of other smart folks weigh in on Facebook $5 billion dollar IPO at Motherboard. At Tablet: Adam […]

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Morning Bites: Gary Shteyngart’s blurbs, Sheila Heti talks to Didion, the bones of Cervantes, and more

So many jokes about being quixotic: searching for the bones of Cervantes. What does Lord Grantham’s Downton Abbey family have in common with Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof? The collected blurbs of Gart Shteyngart. Sheila Heti talks to Joan Didion in the latest issue of The Believer.  There’s an exclusive excerpt up now. Hannah Arendt: not the biggest fan of Israel. Lana Del Ray was better in Sixteen Candles than she was on this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live. Follow […]

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