Talking About Books . . .

The Gene

In 2011 physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee won a Pulitzer prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.  He has just published a new book in which he discusses genes and genetics.  He is a gifted writer who makes difficult concepts accessible to ordinary people, so I fully expect his new book to be as interesting as his first.  Terry Gross recently interviewed Mukherjee on her program Fresh Air.  You can read or listen to the interview here.

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Two hundred years ago this month in Villa Diodati on the shore of Lake Geneva, four people decided to see who could come up with the best horror story.  One of those people, an 18-year old woman who had never written anything before, thought for a few days and then began to write.  Two years later Frankenstein was published anonymously.  Future editions would bear the name of the novel’s author: Mary Shelley.  A BBC article tells you more about the circumstances that brought Mary Shelley and the others to Villa Diodati.

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Literary Hub has published a list of the 2016 O. Henry Prize Stories and has made six of them accessible to us at no charge.  All of the stories will be published in an anthology in September.

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Nick and Nora

The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett’s final novel, is the starting point for six popular motion pictures that were made between 1934 and 1947.  All of the movies featured William Powell as Nick Charles and Myrna Loy as his wife Nora.  The title of every movie contained the words “The Thin Man” though the actual thin man, an inventor who has disappeared, is only associated with the original movie.  And don’t forget the Charles’ cute dog Asta – especially if you enjoy solving crossword puzzles.  The Library of America has published all of Hammett’s works in two volumes, and has published an article about The Thin Man on film.

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Who said it, Jane or Jones – that is, Jane Austen or Bridget Jones?  The Oxford English Dictionary folks have prepared a quiz to test your knowledge.  Take it if you dare.

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With “A China Primer in 10 Books” The American Scholar Introduces The Guest List, a web-only feature in which they ask writers to list their favorite books on a particular subject.  You might also want to explore some of the sidebar features.

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The New Yorker magazine has long been known for its fine fiction.  In a podcast series titled The Author’s Voice: New Fiction from The New Yorker, you can hear authors reading their works that have recently been published in the magazine.

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Dead Wake

If you like the books of Erik Larson, you’ll love an interview he did with Signature.  In it, he talks about how he came to write Isaac’s Storm (1999), The Devil in the White City (2003), Thunderstruck (2006), In the Garden of Beasts (2011), and Dead Wake (2015).

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