Kanae Minato’s “Confessions,” Max Neely-Cohen’s “Echo of the Boom,” and In Praise of the Pop Culture Book Blurb

The bestseller status in Japan and Oscar nomination didn’t get me to pick up Kanae Minato’s Confessions; it was the blurb. Blurbs have become something of a joke within the book world: Shteyngart blurbs about a thousand books a year, says he’s retiring, but then you see his quote on another new book. Jennifer Egan blurbs, Sam Lipsyte blurbs, and even Carrie Brownstein has a blurb on the back of Merritt Tierce’s Love Me Back. We make fun of the blurb and overlook it because they seem to […]

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#tobyreads: Looming Tomes and History’s Weight

When I was in Portland earlier this month, I was told that I needed to read Justin Hocking’s memoir The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld. The recommendation came from Michael Heald, who knows a thing or two about good nonfiction; I was in the midst of talking about various anxieties and frustrations relative to life in New York, writing, and other things, and he suggested that Hocking’s memoir would be a useful thing to read. I’m tempted to say that he’s right. […]

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