thanh viet

The only problem with not talking to oneself was that oneself was the most fascinating conversational partner one could imagine. Nobody had more patience in listening to one than oneself, and while nobody knew one better than oneself, nobody misunderstood one more than oneself.
—  Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer
The only problem with not talking to oneself was that oneself was the most fascinating conversational partner one could imagine. Nobody had more patience in listening to one than oneself, and while nobody knew one better than oneself, nobody misunderstood one more than oneself.
—  Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer
4

Time for Friday Reads! Here’s what we’re working on:

Camila Domonoske: I’m reading Not In God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence, a theological work by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; Sobbing Superpower, a collection of poems by Tadeusz Rozewicz; and The Hopefuls, by Jennifer Close, which is … kind of a weird book to be reading right now, honestly. It’s griping about life in Obama’s D.C.

Colin Dwyer: The Sword of the Lictor. My Gene Wolfe-apalooza proceeds apace.

Karen Grigsby Bates: Just started Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, and am loving it.  Can’t wait to spend more time on it over the weekend, as I procrastinate doing anything about Thanksgiving.

And I just got Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer from the library. How about you?

-Nicole

Recommendations

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin - an interesting mix of crime and science. The science plays a huge part in this, it’s almost a character, but don’t worry if you don’t understand it all. Still an amazing book! 

The Famished Road by Ben Okri - magical realism. A spirit child choses to live among humans rather than returning to the spirit world. The political messages in this are obscured by the fantastic storytelling abilities of Okra but remain poignant. 

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy - feminist sci-fi. If you can stomach the violence against women that occurs in this book almost throughout but more so in the first chapter then this is a fascinating read.

The Sympathiser by Viet Thanh Nguyen - fiction. Told in confessional form. A wonderful story about how important representation is and the plight of the refugee.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders - sci-fi. A wonderful story from trans writer Anders about two people travelling the very different paths of magic & science and how their singular views could destroy the world, but combined they could be more. 

That’s all for now. If I think of any others, I’ll be sure to let you know!!

Difficult Women Book Tour

January 10 – DC – PEN/Faulkner with Hilton Als

January 12 – NYC – 92nd Street Y

January 13 – NYC – Astoria Bookshop

January 18 – LA – Skylight Books

January 19 – Portland – Powell’s

January 20 – Santa Cruz – Bookshop Santa Cruz

January 25 – Bloomington – Indiana University

February 11 – DC – Politics & Prose with Viet Thanh Nguyen

February 15 – Boston – Porter Square

February 16-17 – Mount Holyoke University

February 21 – Seattle – Seattle Arts & Lectures

February 22 – San Francisco – San Francisco Arts & Lectures

Feburary 23 – Denver – Metro State University 

March 3-4 – Long Beach – Festival of Writers

March 6 – Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures

March 22 – Philadelphia – Free Library

March 23 – Baltimore – ACRL in the morning, Pratt Library at night

Congratulations to this year’s National Book Award nominees! NPR News blogger (and Friend of NPR Books) Colin Dwyer writes:

Unlike the shortlist for the U.K.-based Man Booker Prize, which was announced Tuesday, the long lists for the National Book Awards still feature their fair share of familiar names — albeit occasionally in different genres than we saw them last. Jacqueline Woodson, who has won an NBA in young people’s literature, returns with Another Brooklyn, her first novel for adults in two decades. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won last year’s Pulitzer for his fiction, makes an appearance on the long list for nonfiction for Nothing Ever Dies — which, like his 2015 novel, delves into the kaleidoscopic legacy of the Vietnam War. And Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, iconic activist and politician, joins his collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on the YPL list for their third volume in a graphic memoir series on the civil rights movement.

You can find the full lists here – stay tuned for more coverage!

– Petra