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Book News Roundup: 14 April 2017


Man Booker winner Howard Jacobson is back with a novel he began Writing on November 9, 2016. As he says in this essay on the Penguin UK  site, " I went to bed on 8 November confident that the roof of the world was not going to fall in and woke early the following morning to discover it had. Later that afternoon I started writing Pussy." A satire in the form of a fairy tale, Pussy is about the election of Fracassus, son of a ruling dynasty, who is, Mark Lawson says in The Guardian, "physically and psychologically just Trump: small hands, cantilevered coiffure, junk food diet, tweet-squeezed vocabulary ("classy", "beautiful", "loser") and misogyny." Lawson says that Jacobson--often called the "British Philip Roth" but who prefers to call himself the "Jewish Jane Austen" misses his mark in this book, writing what Lawson feels will be a mere oddity, best forgotten, on the shelves among his other works. Maybe so, but it sounds pretty funny to  me.


Smithsonian magazine reports on the heritage science team from the University of London who are studying and categorizing--using the same sorts of categories and descriptors as wine and coffee enthusiasts do--the smells of old books. They're going to use their research to preserve and recreate smells. Fascinating!


Patricia McKissack died April 7 at the age of 72. With her husband, Frederick, she authored dozens of popular, critically acclaimed, and often prize-winning children's books about the African American experience in America. In particular, the deeply researched, clearly and elegantly communicated biographies of great African Americans are considered indispensable. Read more in the New York Times obituary.


Julian Lennon released his first children's book this week. Touch the Earth, published in conjunction with the White Feather Foundation, Lennon's environmental and humanitarian foundation. Read a little about it in Rolling Stone.

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Book News Roundup: 14 April 2017


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